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B    4    03b    532 










H.  T.  RILEY,  ESQ.,  B.A., 


VOL.  IV. 






OF   THE    FOURTH   VOLUME.       ,     . 




CHAP.  Pagft 

1.  Taste  of  the  ancients  for  agriculture 1 

2.  When  the  first  wreaths  of  corn  were  used  at  Rome 3 

3.  The  jugerum  of'land       4 

4.  How  often  and  on  what  occasions  corn  has  sold  at  a  remarkably 

low  price 7 

5.  Illustrious  men  who  have  written  upon  agriculture, 0 

6.  Points  to  be  observed  in  buying  land 11 

7.  The  proper  arrangements  for  a  farm-house 13 

8.  Maxims  of  the  ancients  on  agriculture 16 

9.  The  different  kinds  of  grain    . .      . .      19 

10.  The  history  of  the  various  kinds  of  grain      ib. 

11.  Spelt        24 

12.  Wheat      25 

13.  Barley:  rice 27 

14.  Polenta 28 

15.  Ptisan       29 

16.  Tragum    . ,      ib. 

17.  Amylum *'/,. 

18.  The  nature  of  barley       y.) 

19.  Arinca,  and  other  kinds  of  grain  that  are  grown  in  the  East     ..  31 

20.  Winter  wheat.    Similago,  or  fine  flour         . .      . .  32 

21.  The  fruitfulness  of  Africa  in  wheat       36 

"22.  Sesame.     Erysimum  or  irio.     Horminum 36 

23.  The  mode  of  grinding  corn ib. 

24.  Millet       38 

25.  Panic       ib. 

26.  The  various  kinds  of  leaven ib. 

27.  The  method  of  making  bre&i :  origin  of  the  art 39 

28.  When  bakers  were  first  introduced  at  Rome        40 

29.  Alica 41 

30.  The  leguminous  pknts  :  the  bean 43 

31.  Lentils.     Pease  43 



CHAP.  Pase 

32.  The  several  kinds  of  chick-pease 46 

33.  The  kidney-bean 47 

34.  The  rape ib. 

35.  The  turnip       48 

36.  The  lupine       49 

37.  The  vetch         51 

38.  The  fitch          ib. 

39.  Silicia       ib. 

40.  Secale  or  asia . .  52 

41.  Farrago:  the  cracca       . .      ib. 

42.  Ocinum :  ervilia      ib. 

43.  Lucerne 53 

44.  The  diseases  of  grain  :  the  oat       54 

45.  The  best  remedies  for  the  diseases  of  grain 57 

46.  The  crops  that  should  be  sown  in  the  different  soils 59 

47.  The  different  systems  of  cultivation  employed  by  various  nations  60 

48.  The  various  kinds  of  ploughs 62 

49.  The  mode  of  ploughing ib. 

50.  The  methods  of  harrowing,  stubbing,  and  hoeing,  employed  for 

each  description  of  grain.     The  use  of  the  harrow         . .      . .  66 

51.  Extreme  fertility  of  soil      67 

52.  The  method  of  sowing  more  than  once  in  the  year ,  68 

53.  The  manuring  of  land ib. 

54.  How  to  ascertain  the  quality  of  seed 69 

55.  What  quantity  of  each  kind  of  grain  is  requisite  for  sowing  a 

jugerum       71 

56.  The  proper  times  for  sowing 72 

57.  Arrangement  of  the  stars  according  to  the  terrestrial  days  and 

nights      74 

58.  The  rising  and  setting  of  the  stars         77 

59.  The  epochs  of  the  seasons       . .      . .  78 

60.  The  proper  time  for  winter  sowing       79 

61.  "When  to  sow  the  leguminous  plants  and  the  poppy 81 

62.  Work  to  be  done  in  the  country  in  each  month  respectively      . .  ib. 

63.  Work  to  be  done  at  the  winter  solstice         . .      . .      82 

64.  Work  to  be  done  between  the  winter  solstice  and  the  prevalence 

of  the  west  winds       83 

65.  Work  to  \R,  done  between  the  prevalence  of  the  west  winds  and 

the  vernal  eqtwiox 84 

66.  Work  to  be  done  aftei  the  vernal  equinox 86 

67.  Work  to  be  done  after  tht  rising  of  the  Vergilise  :  hay-making   ,  88 

68.  The  summer  solstice       9'J 

69.  Causes  of  sterility 97 

70.  Remedies  against  these  noxious  infkences 101 

71.  Work  to  be  done  after  the  summer  solace 102 

72.  The  harvest      . .      . .  103 

73.  The  methods  of  storing  corn 104 

74.  The  vintage,  and  the  works  of  autumn 107 

75.  The  revolutions  of  the  moon Ill 


CHAP.  1>a  ?-'*'• 

76.  The  theory  of  the  winds. 113 

77.  The  laying  out  of  lands  according  to  the  points  of  the  wind      . .  114 

78.  Prognostics  derived  from  the  sun      117 

79.  Prognostics  derived  from  the  moon        lli» 

80.  Prognostics  derived  from  the  stars 120 

81.  Prognostics  derived  from  thunder 121 

82.  Prognostics  derived  from  clouds ib. 

83.  Prognostics  derived  from  mists      122 

84.  Prognostics  derived  from  fire  kindled  by  man       ib. 

85.  Prognostics  derived  from  water       ib. 

86.  Prognostics  derived  from  tempests I'-M 

87.  Prognostics  derived  from  aquatic  animals  and  birds ib. 

88.  Prognostics  derived  from  quadrupeds 124 

89.  Prognostics  derived  from  plants 125 

90.  Prognostics  derived  from  food       ib. 



1.  The  nature  of  flax — marvellous  facts  relative  thereto 129 

2.  How  flax  is  sown  :  twenty-seven  principal  varieties  of  it    . .      . .  131 

3.  The  mode  of  preparing  fiax . .  i:!.~> 

4.  Linen  made  of  asbestos  . .        136 

5.  At  what  period  linen  was  first  dyed       13S 

6.  At  what  period  coloured  awnings  were  first  employed  in  the 

theatres        ib. 

7.  The  nature  of  spartum 139 

8.  The  mode  of  preparing  spartum 140 

9.  At  what  period  spartum  was  first  employed 141 

10.  The  bulb  eriophorus        ib. 

11.  Plants  which  spring  up  and  grow  without  a  root — plants  which 

grow,  but  cannot  be  reproduced  from  seed       142 

12.  Misy;  iton:  and  geranion 143 

13.  Particulars  connected  with  the  truffle 144 

14.  The  pezica       ib. 

15.  Laserpitium,  laser,  and  maspetum •///. 

16.  Magydaris        147 

17.  Madder 148 

18.  The  radicula ib. 

19.  The  pleasures  of  the  garden 149 

20.  The  laying  out  of  garden  ground 154 

21.  Plants  other  than  grain  and  shrubs       155 

22.  The  natural  history  of  twenty  different  kinds  of  plants  grown  in 

gardens — the  proper  methods  to  be  followed  in  sowing  them 

respectively ib. 


CHAP.  Page 

23.  Vegetables  of  a  cartilaginous  nature— cucumbers.     Pepones      . .  156 

24.  Gourds 158- 

25.  Rape.    Turnips       161 

26.  Radishes 162 

27.  Parsnips 165 

28.  The  skirret      166 

29.  Elecampane 167 

30.  Bulbs,  squills,  and  arum 168 

31.  The  roots,  flowers,  and  leaves  of  all  these  plants.     Garden  plants 

which  lose  their  leaves       170 

32.  Varieties  of  the  onion 171 

.33.  Theleek 173 

34.  Garlic       174 

35.  The  number  of  days  required  for  the  respective  plants  to  make 

their  appearance  above  ground 177 

36.  The  nature  of  the  various  seeds      178 

37.  Plants  of  which  there  is  but  a  single  kind.    Plants  of  which  there 

are  several  kinds     179 

38.  The  nature  and  varieties  of  twenty-three  garden  plants.    The 

lettuce;  its  different  varieties 180 

39.  Endive      182 

40.  Beet:    four  varieties  of  it      183 

41.  Cabbages;  the  several  varieties  of  them       185 

42.  Wild  and  cultivated  asparagus       188 

43.  Thistles 190 

44.  Other  plants  that  are  sown  in  the  garden:    ocimum;  rocket; 

and  nasturtium 191 

45.  Rue ib. 

46.  Parsley 192 

47.  Mint ib. 

48.  Olusatrum 193 

49.  The  caraway    . .      . .      194 

50.  Lovage ib. 

51.  Dittander *  ..     ..195 

52.  Gith ib. 

53.  The  poppy       196 

54.  Other  plants  which  require  to  be  sown  at  the  autumnal  equinox  197 

55.  Wild  thyme ;  sisymbrium      ib. 

56.  Four  kinds  of  ferulaceous  plants.     Hemp 198 

57.  The  maladies  of  garden  plants      199 

58.  The  proper  remedies  for  these  maladies.    How  ants  are  best  de- 

stroyed.    The  best  remedies  against  caterpillars  and  flies      . .  200 

59.  What  plants  are  benefited  by  salt  water      201 

60.  The  proper  method  of  watering  gardens       ib. 

61.  The  juices  and  flavours  of  garden  herbs       202 

62.  Piperitis,  libanotis,  and  smyrnium 203 




CHAP.  Page 

1.  Introduction 206 

2.  The  wild  cucumber :  twenty-six  remedies 207 

3.  Elaterium :  twenty-seven  remedies        208 

4.  The  anguine  or  erratic  cucumber :  five  remedies 209 

5.  The  cultivated  cucumber  :  nine  remedies      210 

6.  Pepones :  eleven  remedies        %.    211 

7.  The  gourd :  seventeen  remedies.     The  soraphus  :  one  remedy    ..    212 

8.  The  colocynthis  :  ten  remedies      ib. 

9.  Rape:  nine  remedies      213 

10.  Wild  rape  :   one  remedy 214 

11.  Turnips;  those  known  as  bunion  and  bunias  :   five  remedies     ..     ib. 

12.  The  wild  radish,  or  armoracia :   one  remedy        215 

13.  The  cultivated  radish  :    forty-three  remedies        ib. 

14.  The  parsnip:     five  remedies.      The  hibiscum,  wild  mallow,  or 

plistolochia :    eleven  remedies 218 

15.  The  staphylinos,  or  wild  parsnip:   twenty-two  remedies     ..      ..     ib. 

16.  Gingidion  :    one  remedy 219 

17.  The  skirret :    eleven  remedies        220 

18.  Sile,  or  hartwort :   twelve  remedies      221 

19.  Elecampane:    eleven  remedies       222 

20.  Onions  :  twenty-seven  remedies ib. 

21.  Cutleek  :   thirty-two  remedies        223 

22.  Bulbed  leek  :  thirty-nine  remedies        . .      . . 225 

23.  Garlic ;   sixty-one  remedies ib. 

24.  The  lettuce  :    forty  -two  remedies.      The  goat-lettuce :  four  re- 

medies   228 

25.  Caesapon  :   one  remedy.    Isatis :  one  remedy.     The  wild  lettuce  : 

seven  remedies ib. 

26.  Hawk- weed  :   seventeen  remedies 229 

27.  Beet :    twenty-four  remedies 232 

.28.  Limonion,  or  neuroides  :   three  remedies      233 

29.  Endive  :    three  remedies ib. 

30.  Cichorium  or  chreston,  otherwise  called  pancration,  or  ambula : 

twelve  remedies 234 

.31.  Hedypno'is  :   four  remedies ib. 

32.  Seris,  three  varieties  of  it :    seven  remedies  borrowed  from  it  . .  235 

33.  The  cabbage  :   eighty- seven  remedies.    Recipes  mentioned  by  Cato     ib. 

34.  Opinions  of  the  Greeks  relative  thereto        237 

35.  Cabbage-sprouts      239 

.36.  The  wild  cabbage  :    tliirty-seven  remedies 240 

37.  The  lapsana :   one  remedy      241 

The  sea-cabbage  ;    one  remedy      ib. 

39.  The  squill :    twenty. three  remedies       ib. 

40.  Bulbs :    thirty  remedies  . .      .  0 243 


CHAP.  Page 

41.  Bulbine:   one  remedy.     Bulb  emetic 

42.  Garden  asparagus  ;  with  the  next,  twenty-four  remedies      . .      . .  245 

43.  Corruda,  libycum,  or  orminum       ™- 

44.  Parsley:   seventeen  remedies 246 

45.  Apiastrum,  or  melissophyllum       247 

46.  Olusatrum  or    Hipposelinon :    eleven    remedies.     Oreoselinon : 

two  remedies.     Helioselinon :  one  remedy      248 

47.  Petroselinon :   one  remedy.     Buselinon  :    one  remedy        . .      . .  ib- 

48.  Ocimum  :   thirty-five  remedies       249 

49.  Rocket :   twelve  remedies       2oO 

50.  Nasturtium:  forty-two  remedies 251 

51.  Rue:   eighty- four  remedies 252 

52.  Wild  mint :  twenty  remedies        256 

53.  Mint:   forty-one  remedies      ...      257 

54.  Pennyroyal:  twenty-five  remedies 2-59 

55.  Wild  pennyroyal :   seventeen  remedies 260 

56.  Nep :  nine  remedies •  261 

57.  Cummin  :     forty-eight    remedies.      "Wild  cummin :    twenty-six 

remedies      262 

58.  Ammi :  ten  remedies 263 

59.  The  capparis  or  caper :  eighteen  remedies 264 

60.  Ligusticum,  or  lovage  :   four  remedies 265 

61.  Cunila  buhula  :  five  remedies        ib. 

62.  Cunila  gallinacea,  or  origanum  :  five  remedies 266 

63.  Cunilago  :   eight  remedies      ib. 

64.  Soft  cunila  :  three  remedies.     Libanotis  :  three  remedies  . .      . .  ib. 

65.  Cultivated  cunila :    three  remedies.     Mountain  cunila :    seven  re- 

medies   267 

66.  Piperitis,  or  siliquastrum  :  five  remedies      ib. 

67.  Origanum,  onitis,  or  prasion  :  six  remedies 268 

68.  Tragoriganum  :  nine  remedies      ib. 

69.  Three  varieties  of  Heracleotic  origanum:  thirty  remedies  ..      ..  ib. 

70.  Dittander :  three  remedies      270 

71.  Gith,  or  melanthion  :  twenty-three  remedies       ib. 

72.  Anise :  sixty-one  remedies      271 

73.  Where  the  best  anise  is  found  :    various  remedies  derived  from 

this  plant 272 

74.  Dill :  nine  remedies        274 

75.  Sacorpenium,  or  sagapenon  :   thirteen  remedies ib. 

76.  The  white  poppy :   three  remedies.     The  black  poppy  :   eight  re- 

medies.    Remarks  on  sleep.     Opium.     Remarks  in  disfavour 
of  the  potions  known  as   "anodynes,  febrifuges,  digestives, 

and  cceliacs."     In  what  way  the  juices  of  these  plants  are  to  „ 

be  collected 275 

77.  The  poppy  called  rhcaas  :   two  remedies        278 

78.  The  wild  poppy  called  ceratitis,  glaucium,  or  paralium :    six  re- 

medies  7^ 

79.  The  wild  poppy  called  heraclium,  or  aphron:    four  remedies. 

Diacodion   . .      . .     . .     . .  •  


CHAP.  p 

80.  The  poppy  called  tithymalon,  or  paralion  :  three  remedies         .   279 

81.  Porcillaca  or  purslain,  otherwise  called  peplis  :    twenty-five  re- 

medies ..................  '    280 

82.  Coriander:  twenty-one  remedies  .  ..... 

83.  Oragc  :  fourteen  remedies    ........  ^ 

84.  The  mallow  called  malopc  :    thirteen  remedies.     The  mallow 

called  malache  :   one  remedy.     The  mallow  called  althaea   or 
plistolochia  :   fifty-nine  remedies      ..........  283 

:ld  lapathum  or  oxalis,  otherwise  called  lapathum  cantherl 
inum,  or  rumex  :  one  remedy,  llydmlapathiim  :  two  reme- 
dies. Ilippolapathum  :  six  remedies.  Oxylapathum  :  four 
remedies  ................  287 

86.  Cultivated  lapathum  :  twenty-one  remedies/    Biilapathum  :  one  ~' 

remedy  ..................  288 

87.  Mustard,  the  three  kinds  of  it:    forty-four  remedies   '  ib. 

88.  Adarca  :   forty-eight  remedies       ..........  *    290 

89.  Manrubium  or   prasion,  otherwise    linostrophou,  ph'ilopais,  or 

philochares  :    twenty-nine  remedies  ..........  # 

90.  Wild  thyme:   eighteen  remedies  ..........  ..'   292 

91.  Sisymbrium  or  thynihra-iim  :  twenty-three  remedies  /.      ..        \   293 

92.  Linseed  :   thirty  remedies      ............  m    294 

93.  Blite  :   six  remedies      ...........  *  "    295 

:-  um,  and  mcum  athamanticum  :  seven  remedies    '.  ib. 

95.   Fennel:   twenty-two  r.  -m,  .iirs      ........  "    296 

90.  Ilippomarathn.n,  or  myisineum:    five  remedies.  .  ib. 

•  >7.   Hemp:    nine  remedies  ..............  "    297 

98.  Fennel-o-iant  :   (i^lit  remedies      ........  *    298 

99,  The  thistle  or  scolymos  :   six  remedies        .  .  *   299 
100.  The  composition  of  theriaca  ......      .  ^ 



1.  The  nature  of  flowers  and  gardens      .  .      .  .  304 

2.  Garlands  and  chaplets   ..........      '  '      "      "  # 

3.  Who  invented  the  art  of  making  garlands  V  when  they  first  re- 

ceived the  name  of  "  corollee,"  arid  for  what  reason      .  .      .  .    305 

4.  Who  was  the  first  to  give  chaplets  with  leaves  of  silver  and 

-  rn?          Lemnisci  :  who  was  the  first  to  emboss  them     .  .      .  .    306 

o.  The  great  honour  in  which  chaplets  were  held  by  the  ancients     ib 

6.  Ihe  severity  of  the  ancients  in  reference  to  chaplets  ...         .307 

7.  A  citizen  decked  with  flowers  by  the  Roman  people  .  .  308 

8.  Plaited  chaplets.     Needle-work  chaplets.     Nard-leaf  chaplets. 

Silken  chaplets   ........      .  .....  ^ 

9.  Authors  who  have  written  on  flowers.     An  anecdote'  relative  to 

Uueen  Cleopatra  and  chaplets    ......     ........    399 


CHAP.  P*l 

stem.    Plants  in  which  the  stem  appears  before  the  blossom. 
Plants  which  blossom  three  times  in  the  year 35 

67.  The  cypiros.     The  thesion * 

68.  The  asphodel,  or  royal  spear.     The  anthericus  or  albucus        . .     i 

69.  Six  varieties  of  the  rush  :  four  remedies  derived  from  the  cypiros  36 

70.  The  cyperos  :  fourteen  remedies.    The  cyperis.    The  cypira    . .    36 

71.  The  holoschcenus 36 

72.  Ten  remedies  derived  from  the  sweet-scented  rush,  or  teucbites      i 

73.  Remedies  derived  from  the  flowers  before  mentioned :  thirty-two 

remedies  derived  from  the  rose        * 

74.  Twenty-one  remedies  derived  from  the  lily         36 

75.  Sixteen  remedies  derived  from  the  narcissus       36 

76.  Seventeen  remedies  derived  from  the  violet        36 

77.  Seventeen  remedies  derived  from  the  bacchar.     One  remedy  de- 

rived from  the  combretum       i 

78.  Eight  remedies  derived  from  asarum 36 

79.  Eight  remedies  derived  from  gallic  nard * 

80.  Four  remedies  derived  from  the  plant  called  "phu"  ..      ..      ,.37 

81.  Twenty  remedies  derived  from  saffron        I       i 

82.  Syrian  crocomagna :  two  remedies      t 

83.  Forty-one  remedies  derived  from  the  iris:  two  remedies  derived 

from  tbe  saliunca 37 

84.  Eighteen  remedies  derived  from  the  polium      37 

85.  Three  remedies  derived  from  the  holochrysos.    Six  remedies  de- 

rived from  the  chrysocome      37 

86.  Twenty-one  remedies  derived  from  the  nielissophyllum     . .      . .  it 

87.  Thirteen  remedies  derived  from  the  melilote      37 

88.  Four  remedies  derived  from  the  trefoil        t'< 

89.  Twenty-eight  remedies  derived  from  thyme       37 

90.  Four  remedies  derived  from  the  hemerocalles     37 

91.  Five  remedies  derived  from  the  helenium i 

92.  Twenty-two  remedies  derived  from  the  abrotonum 37 

93.  One  remedy  derived  from  the  leucanthemum.     Nine  remedies 

derived  from  the  amaracus      37 

94.  Ten  remedies  derived  from  the  anemone  or  phrenion        . .      . .  37 

95.  Six  remedies  derived  from  the  conaiithe      38 

96.  Eleven  remedies  derived  fronTthe  helichrysos it 

97.  Eight  remedies  derived  from  the  hyacinth         38 

98.  Seven  remedies  derived  from  the  lychnis «'< 

99.  Four  remedies  derived  from  the  vincapervinca 38 

100.  Three  remedies  derived  from  butcher's  broom i( 

101.  Two  remedies  derived  from  the  batis ?'< 

102.  Two  remedies  derived  from  the  colocasia «'< 

103.  Six  remedies  derived  from  the  anthyllium  or  anthyllum  . .      . .  38 

104.  Eight  remedies  derived  from  the  parthenium,  leucanthes,   or 

amaracus        {t 

105.  Eight  remedies  derived  from  the  trychnum  or  strychnum,  hali- 

cacabum,  callias,  dorycnion,  manicon,  neuras,  morio,  or  nioly  38 

106.  Six  remedies  derived  from  the  corchorus 38 



'.  Three  remedies  derived  from  the  cnecos 

.08.  One  remedy  derived  from  the  pesoluta  *? 

i  explanation  of  Greek  terms  relative  to  weights  and  measure's    ib. 



1.  The  properties  of  plants      ....  _ 

•  SJSL!^  :;   T 

of  the  terms 

A      rrii  .  .  9QA 

The  grass  crown  :  how  rarely  it  has  been  awarded" 

5.  The  on  y  persons  that  have  been  presented  with  this  crown ' 

6.  Ihe  only  centurion  that  has  been  thus  honoured 
•  .Remedies  derived  from  other  chaplet  plants 

8.  Ihe  erynge  or  eryngium 

9.  The  eryngium,  called  centum  capita  :  thirty 'r'em^dies" 
1  ne  acanos  :  one  remedy 

The  glycyrrhiza  or  adipsos  :  fifteen  'remedies  * 
Two  varieties  of  the  tribulus  :  twelve  remedies 
13.   1  he  stosbe  or  pheos . . 

4.  Two  varieties  of  the  hippophaes  :  "two  "remedies  ! \  "    *2 

15.  The  nettle :   sixty-one  remedies     . . 
-o.    I  he  lammm  :   seven  remedies. . 
i7.  The  scorpio,  two  kinds  of  it:   one'remedy 

icantha,  phyllos,  ischias,  or  polygonatos  :    four  remedies    ib 
!0.  The  perdicium,  parthenium,  urceo'laris,' or  astercum:"  '  ' 

•  T  4or 

The  coronopus  .... 

Theanchusa:   fourteen  remedies    "  ......    4?,9 

4.  The  pseudoanchusa  echis,  or  doris  :  three  remedies    '  ' 



^  ThLn?h^iS\tUCa^^  ^' 

r   Th    i  i;  thrt;e  varlet'es  of  it:   eleven  remedies  .,  411 

J.  The  lotus  plant  :   four  remedies  '  '   1 

5.   Ihe  lotometra:   two  remedies  **       , 

Th°iUm  heliosc°PiumJ  or'ver^icari;  :    twelve  remedies* 

.    .        •       -  — '>    fj^*. j  i/Ai\/iios.  or   saxi- 

9    m       two  varieties  of  it:   twenty-eight  remedies  415 

•'  T  P  STn  re//medy>     The  thesion  :  ™  ^medy! 

«.  Ihe  asphodel :  fifty-one  remedies  "      V 

Ihehahmon:  fourteen  remedies  ..'     .".'     .*."  "  ^ 


34.  The  acanthus,  psederos,  or  melamphyllos :  five  remedies     . . 

35.  The  bupleuron  :  five  remedies       

36.  The  buprestis  :   one  remedy 

37.  The  elaphoboscon  :  nine  remedies .. 

38.  The  scandix  :  nine  remedies.     The  anthriscum :   two  remedies. . 

39.  The  iasione  :   four  remedies 

40.  The  caucalis  :   twelve  remedies      

41.  The  sium  :   eleven  remedies 

42.  The  sillyhum 

43.  The  scolymos  or  limonia  :  five  remedies       

44.  The  sonchos  :  two  varieties  :  fifteen  remedies      

45.  The  condrion  or  ehondrylla  :  six  remedies 

46.  Mushrooms;  peculiarities  of  their  growth 

47.  Fungi ;  signs  by  which  the  venomous  kinds  may  be  recognized : 

nine  remedies     

48.  Silphium :  seven  remedies      

49    Laser  :  thirty-nine  remedies 

50.  Propolis  :  five  remedies 

51.  The  various  influences  of  different  aliments  upon  the  disposition 

52.  Hydromel :  eighteen  remedies       

53.  Honied  wine :  six  remedies 

54.  Melitites;  three  remedies 

55.  Wax  :  eight  remedies 

56.  Remarks  in  disparagement  of  medicinal  compositions 

57.  Remedies  derived  from  grain.    Siligo  :  one  remedy.     Wheat :  one 

remedy.     Chaff :  two  remedies.     Spelt :  one  remedy.     Bran  : 
one  remedy.     Olyra  or  arinca  :  two  remedies 

58.  The  various  kinds  of  meal :  twenty-eight  remedies 

59.  Polenta:  eight  remedies 

60.  Fine  flour :    five  remedies.     Puls  :   one  remedy.     Meal  used  for 

pasting  papyrus ,  one  remedy 

61.  Alica:  six  remedies        

62.  Millet :  six  remedies       

63.  Panic  :  four  remedies       

64.  Sesame:    seven  remedies.     Sesamoides:   three  remedies.     Anti- 

cyricum  :  three  remedies ,     

65.  Barley  :   nine  remedies.      Mouse-barley,    by  the   Greeks'  called 

phoenice  :  one  remedy        

66.  Ptisan  :  four  remedies 

67.  Amylum :  eight  remedies.     Oats  :  one  remedy 

68.  Bread  :  twenty-one  remedies 

69.  Beans:  sixteen  remedies        

70.  Lentils  :  seventeen  remedies 

71.  The  elelisphacos,  sphacos,  or  salvia  :  thirteen  remedies 

72.  The  chickpea  and  the  chicheling  vetch  :  twentv-three  remedies*  * 

73.  The  fitch :  twenty  remedies   . .      ., 

74.  Lupines :  thirty-five  remedies 

75.  Irio  or  erysimum,  by  the  Gauls  called  vela :  fifteen  remedies 

76.  Horminum  :  six  remedies 

CONTENTS.  xvii 

CHAP.  Page 

77.  Darnel :  five  remedies     . .  ': 454 

78.  The  plant  miliaria  :  one  remedy 4-55 

79.  Bromos  :  one  remedy      ib. 

80.  Orobanche  or  cynomorion  :  one  remedy       \b. 

81.  Remedies  for  injuries  inflicted  by  insects  which  breed  among 

leguminous  plants       ih. 

82.  The  use  made  of  the  yeast  of  zythura 450 



1.  Introduction 457 

2.  The  vine ib. 

3.  The  leaves  and  shoots  of  the  vine":  seven  remedies      45S 

4.  Omphacium  extracted  from  the  vine  :  fourteen  remedies     . .      . .  459 

5.  (Enanthe  :  twenty-one  remedies 460 

6.  Grapes,  fresh  gathered 461 

7.  Various  kinds  of  preserved  grapes :  eleven  remedies ib. 

8.  Cuttings  of  the  vine  :  one  remedy         462 

9.  Grape-stones  :  six  remedies ib. 

10.  Grape-husks:  eight  remedies 463 

11.  The  grapes  of  the  theriaca  :  four  remedies ib. 

12.  Raisins,  or  astaphis :  fourteen  remedies ib. 

13.  The  astaphis  agria,  otherwise  called  staphis  or  taminia :  twelve 

remedies      464 

14.  The  labrusca,  or  wild  vine  :  twelve  remedies        465 

15.  The  salicastrum  :  twelve  remedies        ib. 

16.  The  white  vine,  otherwise  called  ampeloleuce,  staphyle,  melothron, 

psilotrum,  archezostis,  cedrostis,  or  madon:  thirty-one  remedies  4f>(; 

17.  The  black  vine,  otherwise  called  bryonia,  chironia,  gynaecanthe, 

or  apronia  :  thirty-five  remedies       46S 

18.  Must :  fifteen  remedies ib. 

19.  Particulars  relative  to  wine 469 

.20.  The  Surrentine  wines  :   three  remedies.    The  Alban  wines :  two 

remedies.     The  Falernian  wines  :  six  remedies      470 

21.  The  Setine  wines;    one  observation  upon  them.     The  Statan 

wines ;  one  observation  upon  them.    The  Signian  wines :  one 
remedy        471 

22.  Other  wines :  sixty-four  remedies ib. 

23.  Sixty-one  observations  relative  to  wine 473 

24.  In  what  maladies  wine  should  be  administered  ;  how  it  should  be 

administered,  and  at  what  times       474 

25.  Ninety-one  observations  with  reference  to  wine 477 

26.  Artificial  wines        ib. 

J7.  Vinegar ;  twenty-eight  remedies 478 

J8.  Squill  vinegar  :  seventeen  remedies      480 



CHAP.  F$l 

29.  Oxymeli :  seven  remedies       ™ 

30.  Sapa :  seven  remedies *~ 

31.  Lees  of  wine  :  twelve  remedies      . *°~ 

32.  Lees  of  vinegar  :  seventeen  remedies ^ 

33.  Lees  of  sapa :  fonr  remedies 484 

34.  The  leaves  of  the  olive-tree  :  twenty-three  remedies ™- 

35.  The  blossom  of  the  olive  :  four  remedies      >..      ••      Wj 

36.  White  olives :  four  remedies.     Black  olives  :  three  remedies     . .    4 

37.  Amurca  of  olives  :  twenty-one  remedies . .   486 

38.  The  leaves  of  the  wild  olive:  sixteen  remedies 487 

39.  Omphacium  :  three  remedies  . .      . ,      488 

40.  Oil  of  cenanthe*:  twenty-eight  remedies         ™- 

41.  Castor  oil :  sixteen  remedies 48$ 

42.  Oil  of  almonds  :  sixteen  remedies 490 

43.  Oil  of  laurel :  nine  remedies #• 

44.  Oil  of  myrtle  :  twenty  remedies ^   . .      *'#. 

45.  Oil  of  ehamsemyrsine,  or  oxymyrsine ;     oil   of  cypros ;     oil  of 

citrus  ;  oil  of  walnuts ;  oil  of  cnidium  ;  oil  of  mastich  ;  oil  of 
balanus;  various  remedies 491 

46.  The  Cyprus,  and  the  oil  extracted  from  it;]   sixteen  remdies. 

Gleucinum :  one  remedy 492 

47.  Oil  of  halsamum  :  fifteen  remedies ib. 

48.  Malohathrum  :  five  remedies ' 493 

49.  Oil  of  henbane :    two  remedies.     Oil  of  lupines  :   one  remedy. 

Oil  of  narcissus  :  one  remedy.  Oil  of  radishes  :  five  remedies. 
Oil  of  sesame  :  three  remedies.  Oil  of  lilies  :  three  remedies. 
Oil  of  Selga  :  one  remedy.  Oil  of  Iguvium  :  one  remedy  . .  ib. 

50.  Elaeomeli :  two  remedies.     Oil  of  pitch  :  two  remedies      . .      . .    494 

51.  The  palm  :   nine  remedies      ib. 

52.  The  palm  which  produces  the  myrohalanum :  three  remedies     . .    495 

53.  The  palm  called  elate  :   sixteen  remedies      ib. 

54.  Eemedies  derived  from  the  blossoms,  leaves,  fruit,  branches,  bark, 

juices,  roots,  wood,  and  ashes  of  various  kinds  of  trees.  Six  ob- 
servations upon  apples.  Twenty-two  observations  upon  quinces. 
One  observation  upon  struthea 496 

55.  The  sweet  apples  called  melimela:  six  observations  upon  them. 

Sour  apples  :  four  observations  upon  them       497 

56.  Citrons:  five  observations  upon  them 498 

57.  Punic  apples,  or  pomegranates  :  twenty-six  remedies ib. 

58.  The  composition  called  stomatice  :  fourteen  remedies 499 

59.  Cytinus  :  eight  remedies 500 

60.  Balaustium  :  twelve  remedies ,     $, 

61.  The  wild  pomegranate    ..     501 

62.  Pears ;  twelve  observations  upon  them         505 

63.  Figs :  one  hundred  and  eleven  observations  upon  them      . .      . .     H 

64.  The  wild  fig  :  forty-two  observations  upon  it       50£ 

65.  The  herb  erineon :  three  remedies] im  507 

66.  Plums :  four  observations  upon  them $ 

67.  Peaches:  two  remedies 50£ 


CHAP.  Page 

68.  Wild  plums ;  two  remedies      508 

69.  The  lichen  on  plum-trees ;  two  remedies        ib. 

70.  Mulberries;  thirty-nine  remedies ib. 

71.  The  medicament  called  stomatice,  arteriace,  or  panch restos;  four 

remedies      509 

72.  Cherries:  five  observations  upon  them ,.  511 

73.  Medlars:  two  remedies.     Sorbs:  two  remedies 512 

74.  Tine-nuts:  thirteen  remedies ib. 

7o.  Almonds:  twenty-nine  remedies ib. 

76.  Greek  nuts  :  one  remedy 513 

77.  Walnuts  :  twenty-four  remedies.     The  Mithridatic  antidote      ..  514 

78.  Hazel-nuts :     three  observations  upon    them.       Pistachio-nuts : 

eight  observations  upon  them.     Chesnuts  :  five  observations 

upon  them 515 

79.  Carobs  :  five  observations  upon  them.    The  cornel :   one  remedy, 

The  fruit  of  the  arbutus 516 

80.  The  laurel :  sixty-nine  observations  upon  it ib. 

81.  Myrtle:  sixty  observations  upon  it        519 

82.  Myrtidanum  :  thirteen  remedies 521 

83.  The  wild  myrtle,  otherwise  called  oxymyrsine,  or  chamaemyrsine, 

and  the  ruscus  :  six  remedies ib. 





WE  now  pass  on  to  the  Natural  History  of  the  various  grains, 
of  the  garden  plants  and  flowers,  and  indeed  of  all  the  other 
productions,  with  the  exception  of  the  trees  and  shrubs,  which 
the  Earth,  in  her  bounteousness,  affords  us — a  boundless  field 
for  contemplation,  if  even  we  regard  the  herbs  alone,  when  we 
take  into  consideration  the  varieties  of  them,  their  numbers, 
the  flowers  they  produce,  their  odours,  their  colours,  their 
juices,  and  the  numerous  properties  they  possess — all  of  whicli 
have  been  engendered  by  her  with  a  view  to  either  the  preser- 
vation or  the  gratification  of  the  human  race. 

On  entering,  however,  upon  this  branch  of  my  subject,  it  is 
my  wish  in  the  first  place  to  plead  the  cause  of  the  Earth,  and 
to  act  as  the  advocate  of  her  who  is  the  common  parent  of  all, 
although  in  the  earlier1  part  of  this  work  I  have  already  had 
occasion  to  speak  in  her  defence.  For  my  subject  matter,  as  I 
proceed  in  the  fulfilment  of  my  task,  will  now  lead  me  to  con- 
sider her  in  the  light  of  being  the  producer  of  various  noxious 
substances  as  well ;  in  consequence  of  which  it  is  that  we  are 
in  the  habit  of  charging  her  with  our  crimes,  and  imputing  to 
her  a  guilt  that  is  our  own.  She  has  produced  poisons,  it  is 
true ;  but  who  is  it  but  man  that  has  found  them  out  ?  For 
the  birds  of  the  air  and  the  beasts  of  the  field,  it  is  sufficient  to 
be  on  their  guard  against  them,  and  to  keep  at  a  distance  from 
them.  The  elephant,  we  find,  and  the  urus,  know  how  to 

1  In  B.  ii.  c.  63. 
VOL.  iv.  B 


sharpen2  and  renovate  their  teeth  against  the  trunks  of  trees, 
and  the  rhinoceros  against  rocks  ;  wild  boars,  again,  point 
their  tusks  like  so  many  poniards  by  the  aid  of  both  rocks  and 
tre^s ;  and  all  animals,  in  fact,  are  aware  how  to  prepare  them- 
selves  for  the  infliction  of  injury  upon  others  ;  but  still,  which 
is  there  among  them  all,  with  the  exception  of  man,  that  dips 
his  weapons  in  poison  ?  As  for  ourselves,  we  envenom  the 
point  of  the  arrow,3  and  we  contrive  to  add  to  the  destructive 
powers  of  iron  itself;  by  the  aid  of  poisons  we  taint  the  waters 
of  the  stream,  and  we  infect  the  various  elements  of  Nature  ; 
indeed,  the  very  air  even,  which  is  the  main  support  of  life, 
we  turn  into  a  medium  for  the  destruction  of  life. 

And  it  is  not  that  we  are  to  suppose  that  animals  are  igno- 
rant of  these  means  of  defence,  for  we  have  already  had  occa- 
sion to  point  out4  the  preparations  which  they  make  against  the 
attacks  of  the  serpent,  and  the  methods  they  devise  for  effecting 
a  cure  when  wounded  by  it ;  and  yet,  among  them  all,  there 
is  not  one  that  fights  by  the  aid  of  the  poison  that  belongs  to 
another,  with  the  sole  exception  of  man.  Let  us  then  candidly 
confess  our  guilt,  we  who  are  not  contented  even  with  the 
poisons  as  Nature  has  produced  them  ;  for  by  far  the  greater 
portion  of  them,  in  fact,  are  artificially  prepared  by  the  human 
hand ! 

And  then  besides,  is  it  not  the  fact,  that  there  are  many 
men,  the  very  existence  of  whom  is  a  baneful  poison,  as  it 
were  ?  Like  that  of  the  serpent,  they  dart  their  livid  tongue, 
and  the  venom  of  their  disposition  corrodes  every  object  upon 
which  it  concentrates  itself.  Ever  vilifying  and  maligning, 
like  the  ill-omened  birds  of  the  night,  they  disturb  the  repose 
of  that  darkness  which  is  so  peculiarly  their  own,  and  break 
in  upon  the  quiet  of  the  night  even,  by  their  moans  and  wail- 
ings,  the  only  sounds  they  are  ever  heard  to  emit.  Like 
animals  of  inauspicious  presage,  they  only  cross  our  path  to 

2  Of  course  this  is  only  mere  declamation  ;  it  is  not  probable  that  the 
animals  have  any  notion  at  all  of  sharpening  the  weapons  that  nature  hns 
given;  in  addition  to  which,  this  mode  of  sharpening  them  against  hard 
substances  would  only  wear  away  the  enamel,  and  ultimately  destroy  them. 

le  acts  of  animals  in  a  moment  of  rage  or  frenzy  have  evidently  been 
mistaken  here  fur  the  dictates  of  instinct,  or  even  a  superior  intelligence 

1  fci-e  H.  xxv.  c.  25,  and  B.  xxvii.  c.  76. 

/  n  B;  V!iL  C'  36t  41'  42'  The  works  of  tlie  ancients,  Fee  remarks, 
are  full  of  these  puerilities. 

CLap.  2.]          THE  FIRST  WREATHS  OF  CORN  AT  ROME.  3 

prevent  us  from  employing  our  energies  or  becoming  useful  to 
our  fellow-men;  and  the  only  enjoyment  that  is  sought  by 
their  abominable  aspirations  is  centred  in  their  universal  hatre.d 
of  mankind. 

Still,  however,  even  in  this  respect  Nature  has  asserted  her 
majestic  sway ;  for  how  much  more  numerous5  are  the  good 
and  estimable  characters  which  she  has  produced  !  just  in  the 
same  proportion -that  we  find  her  giving  birth  to  productions 
which  are  at  once  both  salutary  and  nutritious  to  man.  It  is  in 
our  high  esteem  for  men  such  as  these,  and  the  commendations 
they  bestow,  that  we  shall  be  content  to  leave  the  others,  like 
so  many  brakes  and  brambles,  to  the  devouring  flames  of  their 
own  bad  passions,  and  to  persist  in  promoting  the  welfare  of 
the  human  race  ;  and  this,  with  all  the  more  energy  and  per- 
severance, from  the  circumstance  that  it  has  been  our  object 
throughout,  rather  to  produce  a  work  of  lasting  utility  than  to 
ensure  ourselves  a  widely- spread  renown.  We  have  only  to 
speak,  it  is  true,  of  the  fields  and  of  rustic  operations ;  but 
still,  it  is  upon  these  that  the  enjoyment  of  life  so  materially 
depends,  and  that  the  ancients  conferred  the  very  highest  rank 
in  their  honours  and  commendations. 

CHAP.   2.  (2.) WHEN    THE    FIKST  WREATHS   OF  CORN    WERE    USED 

AT    ROMK. 

Romulus  was  the  first  who  established  the  Arval6  priesthood 
at  Rome.  This  order  consisted  of  the  eleven  sons  of  Acca 
Larentia,  his  nurse,7  together  with  Romulus  himself,  who  as- 
sumed the  appellation  of  the  twelfth  of  the  brotherhood.  Upon 
this  priesthood  he  bestowed,  as  being  the  most  august  dis- 
tinction that  he  could  confer  upon  it,  a  wreath  of  ears  of  corn, 
tied  together  with  a  white  fillet ;  and  this,  in  fact,  was  the 
first  chaplet  that  was  ever  used  at  Rome.  This  dignity  is  only 
ended  with  life  itself,  and  whether  in  exile  or  in  captivity,  it 

5  This  sentiment  is  not  at  all  akin  to  the  melancholy  view  which  our 
author  takes  of  mankind  at  the  beginning  of  B.  vii.  and  in  other  parts  of 
this  work.  It  is  not  improbable  that  his  censures  here  are  levelled  against 
some  who  had  endeavoured  to  impede  him  in  the  progress  of  his  work. 

6  "  Arvorum  sacerdotes,"  the  priests  of  the  fields. 

7  Or  foster-mother.     It  has  been  suggested  that  the  Rogations  of  the 
Roman  church  may  have  possibly  originated  in  the  Ambarvaiia,  or  cere- 
monial presided  over  by  the  Arval  priesthood. 

B   2 


always  attends  its  owner.     In  those  early  days,  two  jugera  of 
land  were  considered  enough  for  a  citizen  of  Kome,  and  t 
£±Wfi££S  than  thisallotted.    And  yet  al ;  flu  presen 
day  men  who  but  lately  were  the  slaves  of  the  Emperor  ] 
have  been  hardly  content  with  P^aim^ 
the  same  space  as  this  ;  while  they  must  have  fishpond     for- 
sooth, of  still  greater  extent,  and  in  some  instances  I  might 
add,  perhaps,  kitchens  even  as  well. 

Numa  first  established  the  custom  of  offering  corn ^to  the 
gods,  and  of  propitiating  them  with  the  salted8  cake;  he  was 
the  first,  too,  as  we  learn  from  Hemina,  to  parch  spelt,  from 
the  fact  that,  when  in  this  state,  it  is  more  wholesome  as 
aliment.9     This  method,  however,  he  could  only  establish  one 
way  •  by  making  an  enactment,  to  the  effect  that  spelt  is  not 
in  a  pure  state  for  offering,  except  when  parched, 
too,  who  instituted  the  Fornacalia,10    festivals    appropriated 
for  the  parching  of  corn,  and  others,11  observed  with  equal 
solemnity,  for  the  erection  and  preservation  of  the     termini, 
or  boundaries  of  the  fields :  for  these  termini,  in  those  days, 
they  particularly  regarded  as  gods;  while  to  other  divinities 
they  gave  the  names  of  Seia,12  from  "  sero,"  "  to  sow,     and  of 
Segesta,  from  the  "  segetes,"  or  "crops  of  standing  corn,    the 
statues  of  which  goddesses  we  still  see  erected  m  the^Circus. 
A  third  divinity  it  is  forbidden  by  the  rules  of  our  religion  to 
name  even13  beneath  a  roof.     In  former  days,  too,  they  would 
not  so  much  as  taste  the  corn  when  newly  cut,  nor  yet  wine 
when  just  made,  before  the  priests  had  made  a  libation  of  the 

CHAP.  3.  (3.) THE   JTJGEKTO    OF   LAND. 

That  portion  of  land  used  to  be  known  as  a  "  jugerum," 

8  Made  of  salt  and  the  meal  or  flour  of  spelt.   Salt  was  the  emblem  of 
wisdom,  friendship,  and  other  virtues. 

9  This,  Fee  observes,  is  not  the  case  with  any  kind  of  wheat ;  with 
manioc,  which  has  an  acrid  principle,  the  process  may  he  necessary,  in 
order  to  make  it  fit  for  food. 

10  Or  Feast  of  the  Furnace  or  Ovr-n.     See  Ovid's  Fasti,  B.  ii.  1.  5 — 25. 

11  Called  the  Terminalia.     See  Ovid's  Fasti,  B.  ii.  1.  641,  et  seq. 

12  Tertullian,  De  Spect.  i.  16,  calls  this  goddess  by  the  name  of  Sessia. 

13  Coelius  Rhodiginus,  Turncbus,  and  Vossius,  conjecture  that  the  name 
of  this   goddess,  who  might  only  he  named  in  the  field,  was  Tutelina. 
Ilardouin  thinks  that  it  was  Segesta,  here  mentioned. 

Chap.  3.]  THE    JUGERTJM    OF    LAtfD.  5 

which  was  capable  of  being  ploughed  by  a  single  "  jugum,"  or 
yoke  of  oxen,  in  one  day  ;  an  "  actus  " 14  being  as  much  as  the 
oxen  could  plough  at  a  single  spell,  fairly  estimated,  without 
stopping.  This  last  was  one  hundred  and  twenty  feet  in  length ; 
and  two  in  length  made  a  jugerum.  The  most  considerable 
recompense  that  could  be  bestowed  upon  generals  and  valiant 
citizens,  was  the  utmost  extent  of  land  around  which  a  person 
could  trace  a  furrow  with  the  plough  in  a  single  day.  The 
whole  population,  too,  used  to  contribute  a  quarter15  of  a  sex- 
tarius  of  spelt,  or  else  half  a  one,  per  head. 

From  agriculture  the  earliest  surnames  were  derived.  Thus, 
for  instance,  the  name  of  Pilumnus  was  given  to  him  who  in- 
vented the  "  pilum,"  or  pestle  of  the  bake-house,  for  pounding 
corn ;  that  of  Piso  was  derived  from  "  piso."  to  grind  corn ; 
and  those  of  Fabius,  Lentulus,  and  Cicero,  from  the  several 
varieties16  of  leguminous,  plants  in  the  cultivation  of  wrhich  re- 
spectively these  individuals  excelled.  One  individual  of  the 
family  of  the  Junii  received  the  name  of  "  Bubulcus," 17  from 
the  skill  he  displayed  in  breeding  oxen.  Among  the  sacred 
ceremonials,  too,  there  was  nothing  that  was  held  more  holy 
than  the  marriage  by  confarreation,18  and  the  woman  just 
married  used  to  present  a  cake  made  of  spelt.19  Careless  cul- 
tivation of  the  land  was  in  those  times  an  offence  that  came 
under  the  cognizance  of  the  censors ;  and,  as  we  learn  from 
Cato,20  when  it  was  said  that  such  and  such  a  man  was  a  good 
agriculturist  or  a  good  husbandman,  it  was  looked  upon  as  the 
very  highest  compliment  that  could  be  paid  him.  A  man 
came  to  be  called  "  locuples,"  or  "rich,"  from  being  "loci 
plenus,"  or  "full  of  earth."  Money,  too,  received  its  name 
of  "pecunia,"21  from  "  pecus,"  "cattle."  At  the  present 

14  Four  Roman  feet  in  width,  and  120  in  length. 

15  Quartarius. 

16  "  Faba,"  a  bean  ;  "  Lens,"  a  lentil ;  and  "  Cicer,"  a  chick-pea. 

17  A  "  bubus,"  from  "  oxen."    Carus  Junius  Bubulcus  was  twice  Consul, 
and  once  Master  of  the  Horse. 

is  «  Farreum"  was  a  form,  of  marriage,  in  which  certain  words  were 
used,  in  presence  of  ten  witnesses,  and  were  accompanied  by  a  certain  re- 
ligious ceremony,  in  which  "panis  farreus"  was  employed  ;  hence  this  form 
of  marriage  was  called  "  confarreatio." 

19  Farreum. 

20  De  Re  Rust.     Preface. 

21  See  B.  xxxiii.  c.  13. 

6  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY/         [Book  XVIII. 

day,  even,  in  the  registers  of  the  censors,  we  find  set  down 
under  the  head  of  "pascua,"  or  "pasture  lands/'  everything 
from  which  the  public  revenues  are  derived,  from  the  fact  that 
for  a  long  period  of  time  pasture  lands  were  the  only  sources 
of  the  public  revenue.  Tines,  too,  were  only  imposed  in  the 
shape  of  paying  so  many  sheep  or  so  many  oxen ;  and  the  be- 
nevolent spirit  of  the  ancient  laws  deserves  remark,  which 
most  considerately  enjoined  that  the  magistrate,  when  he  in- 
flicted a  penalty,  should  never  impose  a  fine  of  an  ox  before 
having  first  condemned  the  same  party  to  the  payment  of  a 

Those  who  celebrated  the  public  games  in  honour  of  the  ox 
received  the  name  of  Bubetii.22  King  Servius  was  the  first 
who  impressed  upon  our  copper  coin28  the  figures  of  sheep  and 
oxen.  To  depasture  cattle  secretly  by  night  upon  the  unripe 
crops  on  plough  lands,  or  to  cut  them  in  that  state,  was  made 
by  the  Twelve  Tables24  a  capital  offence  in  the  case  of  an 
adult ;  and  it  was  enacted  that  the  person  guilty  of  it  should 
be  hanged,  in  order  to  make  due  reparation  to  the  goddess 
Ceres,  a  punishment  more  severe,  even,  than  that  inflicted  for 
murder.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  the  offender  was  not  an  adult, 
he  was  beaten  at  the  discretion  of  the  praetor ;  a  penalty  double 
the  amount  of  the  damage  was  also  exacted. 

The  various  ranks,  too,  and  distinctions  in  the  state  had  no 
other  origin  than  the  pursuits  of  agriculture.  The  rural 
tribes  held  the  foremost  rank,  and  were  composed  of  those 
who  possessed  lands  ;  while  those  of  the  city,  a  place  to  which 
it  was  looked  upon  as  ignominious  to  be  transferred,  had  the 
discredit  thrown  upon  them  of  being  an  indolent  race.  Hence 
it  was  that  these  last  were  only  four  in  number,  and  received 
their  names  from  the  several  parts  of  the  City  which  they  re- 
spectively inhabited ;  being  the  Suburran,  the  Palatine,  Col- 
line,  and  Exquiline  tribes.  Every  ninth  day25  the  rural  tribes 
used  to  visit  the  city  for  the  purpose  of  marketing,  and  it  was 
for  this  reason  that  it  was  made  illegal  to  hold  the  comitia  upon 

28  St  Augustin,  De  Civ.  Dei.,  mentions  a  goddess,  Bubona,  the  tutelar 
divinity  of  oxen.  Nothing  seems  to  be  known  of  these  games. 

23  See  B.  xxxiii.  c.  13.     Macrobius  says  that  it  was  Janus. 

24  Table  vii.  s.  2. 

25  On  the  "Nundinse,"  or  ninth-day  holiday:  similar  to  our  market- 
days.    According  to  our  mode  of  reckoning,  it  was  every  eighth  day. 

Chap.  4.]  THE   PEICE   OF   COKN.  7 

the  Nundinae ;  the  object  being  that  the  country  people  might 
not  be  called  away  thereby  from  the  transaction  of  their  busi- 
ness. In  those  days  repose  and  sleep  were  enjoyed  upon 
straw.  Even  to  glory  itself,  in  compliment  to  corn,  the  name 
was  given  of  "  adorea."26 

For  my  own  part,  I  greatly  admire27  the  modes  of  expres- 
sion employed  in  our  ancient  language :  thus,  for  instance, 
we  read  in  the  Commentaries  of  the  Priesthood  to  the  follow- 
ing effect: — "For  deriving  an  augur}*  from  the  sacrifice  of  a 
bitch,28  a  day  should  be  set  apart  before  the  ear  of  corn  appears 
from  out  of  the  sheath,29  and  then  again  before  it  enters  the 



The  consequence  was,  that  when  the  Roman  manners  were 
such  as  these,  the  corn  that  Italy  produced  was  sufficient  for 
its  wants,  and  it  had  to  be  indebted  to  no  province  for  its 
food ;  and  not  only  this,  but  the  price  of  provisions  was  in- 
credibly cheap.  Manius  Marcius,  the  aedile30  of  the  people, 
was  the  first  who  gave  corn  to  the  people  at  the  price  of  one 
as  for  the  modius.  L.  Minutius  Augurinus,31  the  same  who 
detected,  when  eleventh  tribune  of  the  people,  the  projects  of 
Spurius  Maelius,  reduced  the  price  of  corn  on  three  market 
days,32  to  one  as  per  modius ;  for  which  reason  a  statue  was 
erected  in  honour  of  him,  by  public  subscription,  without  the 
Trigeminian  Gate.33  T.  Seius  distributed  corn  to  the  people, 

26  From  "  ador,"  the  old  name  for  "  spelt :"  because  corn  was  the  chief 
reward  given  to  the  conqueror,  and  his  temples  were  graced  with  a  wreath 
of  corn. 

27  In  the  first  place,  it  is  difficult  to  see  what  there  is  in  this  passage  to 
admire,  or  "wonder  at,"  if  that  is  the  meaning  of  "admiror ;"  and  then, 
besides,  it  has  no  connection  with  the  context.     The  text  is  probably  in  a 
defective  state. 

28  See  c.  69  of  this  Book. 

29  "  Vagina."     The  meaning  of  this  word  here  has  not  been  exactly 
ascertained.    It  has  heen  suggested  that  the  first  period  alludes  to  the  ap- 
pearance of  the  stalk  from  its  sheath  of  leaves,  and  the  second  to  the  for- 
mation of  the  ear. 

30  A.U.C.  298.  si  gee  g.  xxxiv.  c>  n.     AtTJ>c<  317 

32  Nundinis. 

33  On  the  road  to  Ostia.     It  was  said  to  have  received  its  name  from 
the  Horatii  and  Curiatii. 


in  his  sodileship,34  at  one  as  per  modius,  in  remembrance  of 
which  statues  were  erected  in  honour  of  him  also  in  the  Capi- 
tol and  the  Palatium  :  on  the  day  of  his  funeral  he  was  borne  to 
the  pile  on  the  shoulders  of  the  Eoman  people.  In  the  year,35 
too,  in  which  the  Mother  of  the  Gods  was  brought  to  Borne,  the 
harvest  of  that  summer,  it  is  said,  was  more  abundant  than  it 
had  been  for  ten  years  before.  M.  Yarro  informs  us,  that  in  the 
year30  in  which  L.  Metellus  exhibited  so  many  elephants  in, 
his  triumphal  procession,  a  modius  of  spelt  was  sold  for  one  as, 
which  was  the  standard  price  also  of  a  conglus  of  wine,  thirty 
pounds'  weight  of  dried  figs,  ten  pounds  of  olive  oil,  and 
twelve  pounds  of  flesh  meat.  Nor  did  this  cheapness  originate 
in  the  wide-spread  domains  of  individuals  encroaching  con- 
tinually upon  their  neighbours,  for  by  a  law  proposed  by  Lici- 
nius  Stolo,  the  landed  property  of  each  individual  was  limited 
to  five  hundred  jugera ;  and  he  himself  was  convicted  under 
his  own  law  of  being  the  owner  of  more  than  that  amount, 
having  as  a  disguise  prevailed  upon  his  son  to  lend  him  his 
name.  Such  were  the  prices  of  commodities  at  a  time  when 
the  fortunes  of  the  republic  were  rapidly  on  the  increase.  The 
words,  too,  that  were  uttered  by  Manius  Curius37  after  his 
triumphs  and  the  addition  of  an  immense  extent  of  territory 
to  the  Eoman  sway,  are  well  known :  "  The  man  must  be 
looked  upon,"  said  he,  "  as  a  dangerous  citizen,  for  whom 
seven  jugera  of  land  are  not  enough;"  such  being  the  amount 
of  land  that  had  been  allotted  to  the  people  after  the  expulsion 
of  the  kings. 

What,  then,  was  the  cause  of  a  fertility  so  remarkable  as 
this  ?  The  fact,  we  have  every  reason  to  believe,  that  in 
those  days  the  lands  were  tilled  by  the  hands  of  generals 
even,  the  soil  exulting  beneath  a  plough-share  crowned  with 
wreaths  of  laurel,  and  guided  by  a  husbandman  graced  with 
triumphs :  whether  it  is  that  they  tended  the  seed  with  the 
same  care  tnVt  they  had  displayed  in  the  conduct  of  wars,  and 
manifested  the  same  diligent  attention  in  the  management  of 
their  fields  that  they  had  done  in  the  arrangement  of  the  camp, 

34  A.U.C.  345. 

35  A.U.C.  550.     He  alludes  to  the  introduction  of  Cybele,  from  Pessinus, 
in  Galatia,  in  the  Second  Punic  war. 

36  A.U.C.  604.     See  B.  viii.  c.  6. 

37  Manius  Curius  Dentatus,  Consul  A.U.C.  464. 

Chap.  5.]  WRITERS    UPON   AGRICULTURE.  9 

or  whether  it  is  that  under  the  hands  of  honest  men  every- 
thing prospers  all  the  better,  from  being  attended  to  with  a 
scrupulous  exactness.  The  honours  awarded  to  Serranus38 
found  him  engaged  in  sowing  his  fields,  a  circumstance  to 
which  he  owes  his  surname.39  Cincinnatus  was  ploughing  his 
four  jugera  of  land  upon  the  Yaticanian  Hill — the  same  that  are 
still  known  as  the  "Quintian  Meadows,"40  when  the  mes- 
senger brought)  him  the  dictatorship — finding  him,  the  tradi- 
tion says,  stripped  to  the  work,  and  his  very  face  begrimed 
with  dust.  "  Put  on  your  clothes,"  said  he,  "  that  I  may  de- 
liver to  you  the  mandates  of  the  senate  and  people  of  Kome." 
In  those  days  these  messengers  bore  the  name  of  "  viator,"  or 
"  wayfarer,"  from  the  circumstance  that  their  usual  employ- 
ment was  to  fetch  the  senators  and  generals  from  their  fields. 

But  at  the  present  day  these  same  lands  are  tilled  by  slaves 
whose  legs  are  in  chains,  by  the  hands  of  malefactors  and  men 
with  a  branded  face  !  And  yet  the  Earth  is  not  deaf  to  our 
adjurations,  when  we  address  her  by  the  name  of  "  parent," 
and  say  that  she  receives  our  homage41  in  being  tilled  by 
hands  such  as  these ;  as  though,  forsooth,  we  ought  not  to  be- 
lieve that  she  is  reluctant  and  indignant  at  being  tended  in. 
such  a  manner  as  this !  Indeed,  ought  we  to  feel  any  surprise 
were  the  recompense  she  gives  us  when  worked  by  chastised 
slaves,42  not  the  same  that  she  used  to  bestow  upon  the  labours 
of  warriors  ? 


Hence  it  was  that  to  give  precepts  upon  agriculture  became 
one  of  the  principal  occupations  among  men  of  the  highest 
rank,  and  that  in  foreign  nations  even.  For  among  those  who 

38  A.U.C.  497. 

39  From  u  sero,"  to  sow.     See  the  JEneid,  B.  vi.  1.  844,  where  this  cir- 
cumstance is  alluded  to. 

40  «  Prata  Quintia."     Hardouin  says  that  in  his  time  this  spot  was  still 
called  I  Prati :  it  lay  beyond  the  Tiber,  between  the  vineyard  of  the  Me- 
dici and  the  castle  of  Sant  Angelo. 

41  He  alludes  to  the  twofold  meaning  of  the  word  "  coli,"  "  to  be  tilled," 
or  "  to  receive  homage  from." 

42  "  Ergastulorum."     The  "  Ergastula"  were  places  of  punishment  at- 
tached to  the  country  houses  of  the  wealthy,  for    the  chastisement    of 
refractory  slaves,  who  were  usiuilly  made  to  work  in  chains. 


have  written  on  this  subject  we  find  the  names  of  kings  even, 
Hiero,  for  instance,  Attains  Philometor,  and  Archelaiis,  as  well  as 
of  generals,  Xenophon,  for  example,  and  Mago  the  Carthaginian. 
Indeed,  to  this  last  writer  did  the  Eoman  senate  award  such 
high  honours,  that,  after  the  capture  of  Carthage,  when  it 
bestowed  the  libraries  of  that  city  upon  the  petty  kings  of 
Africa,  it  gave  orders,  in  his  case  only,  that  his  thirty-two 
Books  should  be  translated  into  the  Latin  language,  and  this, 
although  M.  Cato  had  already  compiled  his  Book  of  Precepts  ; 
it  took  every  care  also  to  entrust  the  execution  of  this  task  to 
men  who  were  well  versed  in  the  Carthaginian  tongue,  among 
whom  was  pre-eminent  D.  Silanus,  a  member  of  one  of  the 
most  illustrious  families  of  Rome.  I  have  already  indicated,43 
at  the  commencement  of  this  work,  the  numerous  learned 
authors  and  writers  in  verse,  together  with  other  illustrious 
men,  whose  authority  it  is  my  intention  to  follow  ;  but  among 
the  number  I  may  here  more  particularly  distinguish  M.  Yarro, 
who,  at  the  advanced  age  of  eighty- eight  years,  thought  it 
his  duty  to  publish  a  treatise  upon  this  subject. 

(4.)  Among  the  Romans  the  cultivation  of  the  vine  wras 
introduced  at  a  comparatively  recent  period,  and  at  first,  as 
indeed  they  were  obliged  to  do,  they  paid  their  sole  attention 
to  the  culture  of  the  fields.  The  various  methods  of  cultivat- 
ing the  land  will  now  be  our  subject ;  and  they  shall  be  treated 
of  by  us  in  no  ordinary  or  superficial  manner,  but  in  the  same 
spirit  in  which  we  have  hitherto  written ;  enquiry  shall  be 
made  with  every  care  first  into  the  usages  of  ancient  days,  and 
then  into  the  discoveries  of  more  recent  times,  our  attention 
being  devoted  alike  to  the  primary  causes  of  these  operations, 
and  the  reasons  upon  which  they  are  respectively  based.  We 
shall  make  mention,44  too,  of  the  various  constellations,  and  of 
the  several  indications  which,  beyond  all  doubt,  they  afford  to 
the  earth ;  and  the  more  so,  from  the  fact  that  those  writers 
who  have  hitherto  treated  of  them  with  any  degree  of  exact- 
ness, seem  to  have  written  their  works  for  the  use  of  any  class 
of  men  but  the  agriculturist. 

43,  In  the  First  Book,  as  originally  written.  This  list  of  writers  is  ap- 
pended in  the  present  Translation  to  each  respective  Book. 

^  This  is  probably  written  in  humble  imitation  of  the  splendid  exordium 
of  the  Georgics  of  Virgil. 

Chap.  6.]  ON   BITTING  LAND.  ]  1 


First  of  all,  then,  I  shall  proceed  in  a  great  measure  accord- 
ing to  the  dicta  of  the  oracles  of  agriculture ;  for  there  is  no 
branch  of  practical  life  in  which  we  find  them  more  numerous 
or  more  unerring.  And  why  should  we  not  view  in  the  light 
of  oracles  those  precepts  which  have  been  tested  by  the  infal- 
libility of  time  and  the  truthfulness  of  experience  ? 

(5.)  To  make  a  beginning,  then,  with  Cato45 — "The  agricul- 
tural population,"  says  he,  "  produces  the  bravest  men,  the 
most  valiant  soldiers,46  and  a  class  of  citizens  the  least  given  of 
all  to  evil  designs. — Do  not  be  too  eager  in  buying  a  farm. — 
In  rural  operations  never  be  sparing  of  your  trouble,  and,  above 
all,  when  you  are  purchasing  land. — A  bad  bargain  is  always 
a  ground  for  repentance. — Those  who  are  about  to  purchase 
land,  should  always  have  an  eye  more  particularly  to  the  water 
there,  the  roads,  and  the  neighbourhood."  Each  of  these 
points  is  susceptible  of  a  very  extended  explanation,  and 
replete  with  undoubted  truths.  Cato47  recommends,  too,  that 
an  eye  should  be  given  to  the  people  in  the  neighbourhood,  to 
see  how  they  look  :  "For  where  the  land  is  good,"  says  he, 
"  the  people  will  look  well-conditioned  and  healthy." 

Atilius  Regulus,  the  same  who  was  twice  consul  in  the 
Punic  War,  used  to  say48  that  a  person  should  neither  buy  an 
unhealthy  piece  of  land  in  the  most  fertile  locality,  nor  yet  the 
very  healthiest  spot  if  in  a  barren  country.  The  salubrity  of 
land,  however,  is  not  always  to  be  judged  of  from  the  looks  of 
the  inhabitants,  for  those  who  are  well-seasoned  are  able  to 
withstand  the  effects  of  living  in  pestilent  localities  even.  And 
then,  besides,  there  are  some  localities  that  are  healthy  during 
certain  periods  of  the  year  only;  though,  in  reality,  there  is 
no  soil  that  can  be  looked  upon  as  really  valuable  that  is  not 
healthy  all  the  year  through.  "  That49  is  sure  to  be  bad  land 
against  which  its  owner  has  a  continual  struggle."  Cato 
recommends  us  before  everything,  to  see  that  the  land  which 

45  De  Re  Rust.     Preface. 

46  Fee  remarks,  that  we  still  recruit  our  armies  mostly  from  the  agricul- 
tural class. 

47  De  Re  Rust.  c.  1. 

48  Quoted  by  Columella,  De  Re  Rust.  B.  i.  4.    The  sad  fate  of  Regulus 
is  known  to  all  readers  of  Roman  history. 

*9  From  Columella,  B.  i.  c.  3. 

12  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOEY.         [Book  XVIIL 

we  are  about  to  purchase  not  only  excels  in  the  advantages  of 
locality,  as  already  stated,  but  is  really  good  of  itself.  We 
should  see,  too,  he  says,  that  there  is  an  abundance  of  manual 
labour  in  the  neighbourhood,  as  well  as  a  thriving  town  ;  that 
there  are  either  rivers  or  roads,  to  facilitate  the  carriage  of  the 
produce ;  that  the  buildings  upon  the  land  are  substantially 
erected,  and  that  the  land  itself  bears  every  mark  of  having 
been  carefully  tilled — a  point  upon  which  I  find  that  many 
persons  are  greatly  mistaken,  as  they  are  apt  to  imagine  that 
the  negligence  of  the  previous  owner  is  greatly  to  the  pur- 
chaser's advantage ;  while  the  fact  is,  that  there  is  nothing  more 
expensive  than  the  cultivation  of  a  neglected  soil. 

For  this  reason  it  is  that  Cato50  says  that  it  is  best  to  buy 
land  of  a  careful  proprietor,  and  that  the  methods  adopted  by 
others  ought  not  to  be  hastily  rejected — that  it  is  the  same 
with  land  as  with  mankind — however  great  the  proceeds,  if  at 
the  same  time  it  is  lavish  and  extravagant,  there  will  be  no 
great  profits  left.  Cato  looks  upon  a  vineyard  as  the  most51 
profitable  investment ;  and  he  is  far  from  wrong  in  '  that  opi- 
nion, seeing  that  he  takes  such  particular  care  to  retrench  all 
superfluous  expenses.  In  the  second  rank  he  places  gar- 
dens that  have  a  good  supply  of  water,  and  with  good  reason, 
too,  supposing  always  that  they  are  near  a  town.  The  ancients 
gave  to  meadow  lands  the  name  of  "  parata,"  or  lands  "  always 

Cato  being  asked,  on  one  occasion,  what  was  the  most  cer- 
tain source  of  profit,  "  Good  pasture  land,"  was  his  answer  ; 
upon  which,  enquiry  was  made  what  was  the  next  best.  "Pretty 
good53  pasture  lands,"  said  he — the  amount  of  all  which  is,  that 
he  looked  upon  that  as  the  most  certain  source  of  income 
which  stands  in  need  of  the  smallest  outlay.  This,  however, 
will  naturally  vary  in  degree,  according  to  the  nature  of  the 
respective  localities ;  and  the  same  is  the  case  with  the  maxim54 
to  which  he  gives  utterance,  that  a  good  agriculturist  must  be 

50  De  Re  Rust,  c.  1. 

51  It  is  still  thought  so  in  France,  Fee  says,  and  nothing  has  tended 
more  than  this  notion  to  the  depreciation  of  the  prices  of  wine. 

52  Hence  the  usual  Latin  name,  "  prata." 

53  "  Si  sat  bene."     Cicero,  De  Officiis,  B.  ii.  n.  88,  gives  this  anecdote 
somewhat  more  at  length. 

3*  De  Re  Rust.  c.  2. 


fond  of  selling.  The  same,  too,  with  his  remark,  that  in  his 
youth  a  landowner  should  begin  to  plant  without  delay,  hut 
that  he  ought  not  to  build  until  the  land  is  fully  brought  into 
cultivation,  and  then  only  a  little  at  a  time :  and  that  the  best 
plan  is,  as  the  common  proverb  has  it,  "  To  profit  by  the  folly 
of  others  ;>>55  taking  due  care,  however,  that  the  keeping  up  of 
a  farm-house  does  not  entail  too  much  expense.  Still,  how- 
ever, those  persons  are  guilty  of  no  falsehood  who  are  in  the 
habit  of  saying  that  a  proprietor  who  is  well  housed  comes  all 
the  oftener  to  his  fields,  and  that  "  the  master's  forehead  is 
of  more  use  than  his  back."56 


•Che  proper  plan  to  be  pursued  is  this : 57  the  farm-house  must 
not  be  unsuitable  for  the  farm,  nor  the  farm  for  the  house ;  and 
we  must  be  on  our  guard  against  following  the  examples  of  L. 
Lucullus  and  Q.  Scaevola,  who,  though  living  in  the  same  age, 
fell  into  the  two  opposite  extremes ;  for  whereas  the  farm-house 
of  Scaevola  was  not  large  enough  for  the  produce  of  his  farm, 
the  farm  of  Lucullus  was  not  sufficiently  large  for  the  house  he 
built  upon  it ;  an  error  which  gave  occasion  to  the  reproof  of 
the  censors,  that  on  his  farm  there  was  less  of  ground  for 
ploughing  than  of  floor  for  sweeping.  The  proper  arrange- 
ments for  a  farm-house  are  not  to  be  made  without  a  certain 
degree  of  skill.  C.  Marius,  who  was  seven  times  consul,  was 
the  last  person  who  had  one  built  at  Misenum;*8  but  he  erected 
it  with  such  a  degree  of  that  artistic  skill  which  he  had  dis- 
played in  castrametation,  that  Sylla  Felix89  even  made  the 
remark,  that  in  comparison  with  Marias,  all  the  others  had 
been  no  better  than  blind.60 

It  is  generally  agreed,  that  a  farm-house  ought  neither  to 
be  built  near  a  marsh,  nor  with  a  river  in  front  of  it ;  for,  as 

55  "  Aliena  insania  f'rui."  We  have  a  saying  to  a  similar  effect :  "  Fools 
build  houses,  and  wise  men  buy  them." 

56  "  Frons  domini  plus  prodest  quam  occipitium."     See  Cato,  De  Re 
Rust.  c.  4 ;  also  Phaedrus,  B.  iv.  Fab.  19. 

57  Cato,  c.  3.    Varro  and  Columella  give  the  same  advice. 

58  See  B.  iii.  c.  9. 

59  Sylla  the  Fortunate,  the  implacable  enemy  of  Marius. 

60  Because,  though  the  last  comer,  he  had  obtained  the  best  site  in  the 


Homer61  has  remarked,  with  the  greatest  correctness,  unwhole- 
some vapours  are  always  exhaled  from  rivers  before  the  rising 
of  the  sun.  In  hot  localities,  a  farm-house  should  have  a 
northern  aspect,  but  where  it  is  cold,  it  should  look  towards 
the  south  ;  where,  on  the  other  hand,  the  site  is  temperate,  the 
house  should  look  due  east.  Although,  when  speaking62  of 
the  best  kinds  of  soil,  I  may  seem  to  have  sufficiently  discussed 
the  characteristics  by  which  it  may  be  known,  I  shall  take  the 
present  opportunity  of  adding  a  few  more  indications,  employ- 
ing the  words  of  Cato6^  more  particularly  for  the  purpose. 
"  The  dwarf- elder/'  says  he,  "the  wild  plum,64  the  bramble, 
the  small  bulb,65  trefoil,  meadow  grass,66  the  quercus,  and  the 
wild  pear  and  wild  apple,  are  all  of  them  indicative  of  a  corn 
land.  The  same  is  the  case,  too,  where  the  land  is  black,  or 
of  an  ashy  colour.  All  chalky  soils  are  scorching,  unless  they 
are  very  thin ;  the  same,  too,  with  sand,  unless  it  is  remarkably 
fine.  These  remarks,  however,  are  more  applicable  to  cham- 
paign localities  than  declivities." 

The  ancients  were  of  opinion,  that  before  everything,  mode- 
ration should  be  observed  in  the  extent  of  a  farm ;  for  it  was 
a  favourite  maxim  of  theirs,  that  we  ought  to  sow  the  less,  and 
plough  the  more  :  such  too,  I  find,  was  the  opinion  entertained 
by  Virgil,67  and  indeed,  if  we  must  confess  the  truth,  it  is  the 
wide- spread  domains  that  have  been  the  ruin68  of  Italy,  and 
soon  will  be  that  of  the  provinces  as  well.  Six  proprietors 
were  in  possession  of  one  half  of  Africa,69  at  the  period  when 

61  Od.  v.  469.     If  the  river  has  a  bed  of  sand  and  high  banks,  it  is 
really  advantageous  than  otherwise. 
;2  In  B.  xvii.  c.  3. 

63  Not  to  be  found  in  his  works  which  have  come  down  to  us. 

64  Prunus  spinosa  of  Linnseus. 

65  See  B.  xix.  c.  30 ;  probably  one  of  the   genus  Allium  sphseroce- 
phalum  of  Linnaeus. 

66  u  Herba  pratensis."     It  is  not  known  with  certainty  to  what  plant  he 
alludes.     Fee  suggests  that  it  may  be  the  Poa  pratensis,  or  else  a  phleum, 
alopecurus,  or  dactylis.     All  the  plants  here  mentioned  by  Pliny  will  thrive 
in  a^  calcareous  soil,  and  their  presence,  as  Fee  remarks,  is  of  bad  augury. 

67  He  alludes  to  the  famous  maxim  in  the  Georgics,  B.  ii.  1,  412  :-— 

Laudato  ingentia  rura, 

Exiguum  colito — 

"Praise  a  large  farm,  cultivate  a  small  one." 
J8  By  introducing  slovenly  cultivation, 

i9  That  small  part  of  it  known  to  the  Romans.  Hardouin  says  that  the 
province  of  Zeugitana  is  alluded  to,  mentioned  in  B.  v.  c.  3. 


the  Emperor  Nero  had  them  put  to  death.  With  that  great- 
ness of  mind  which  was  so  peculiarly  his  owny  and  of  which 
he  ought  not  to  lose  the  credit,  Cneius  Pompeius  would  never 
purchase  the  lands  that  belonged  to  a  neighbour.  Mago  has 
stated  it  as  his  opinion,  that  a  person,  on  buying  a  farm,  ought 
at  once  to  sell  his  town  house  ;70  an  opinion,  however,  which 
savours  of  too  great  rigidity,  and  is  by  no  means  conformable  to 
the  public  good.  It  is  with  these  words,  indeed,  that  he  begins 
his  precepts;  a  good  proof,  at  all  events,  that  he  looks  upon  the 
personal  inspection  of  the  owner  as  of  primary  importance. 

The  next  point  which  requires  our  care  is  to  employ  a  farm- 
steward71  of  experience,  and  upon  this,  too,  Cato'2  has  given 
many  useful  precepts.  Still,  however,  it  must  suffice  for 
me  to  say  that  the  steward  ought  to  be  a  man  nearly  as  clever 
as  his  master,  though  without  appearing  to  know  it.  It  is  the 
very  worst  plan  of  all,  to  have  land  tilled  by  slaves  let  loose 
from  the  houses  of  correction,  as,  indeed,  is  the  case  with  all 
work  entrusted  to  men  who  live  without  hope.  I  may  possibly 
appear  guilty  of  some  degree  of  rashness  in  making  mention  of 
a  maxim  of  the  ancients,  which  will  very  probably  be  looked 
upon  as  quite  incredible — "  That  nothing  is  so  disadvantageous 
as  to  cultivate  land  in  the  highest  style  of  perfection."  L. 
Tarius  Rufus,  a  man  who,  born  in  the  very  lowest  ranks  of 
life,  by  his  military  talents  finally  attained  the  consulship,78 
and  who  in  other  respects  adhered  to  the  old-fashioned  notions 
of  thriftiness,  made  away  with  about  one  hundred  millions  of 
sesterces,  which,  by  the  liberality  of  the  late  Emperor  Augus- 
tus, he  had  contrived  to  amass,  in  buying  up  lands  in  Picenum, 
and  cultivating  them  in  the  highest  style,  his  object  being  to 
gain  a  name  thereby ;  the  consequence  of  which  was,  that  his 
heir  renounced74  the  inheritance.  Are  we  of  opinion,  then, 
that  ruin  and  starvation  must  be  the  necessary  consequence  of 
such  a  course  as  this  ?  Yes,  by  Hercules  !  and  the  very  best 
plan  of  all  is  to  let  moderation  guide  our  judgment  in  all  things. 
To  cultivate  land  well  is  absolutely  necessary,  but  to  cultivate 

70  And  reside  on  the  farm. 

71  Villicus. 

72  De  Re  Rust.  c.  5. 

73  A.U.C.  737. 

74  Probably  because  it  entailed  too  great  an  expense.     It  may  have 
been  deeply  mortgaged  :  otherwise  it  is  not  clear  why  the  heir  refused  to 
take  it,  as  he  might  have  sold  a  part. 

16  PLINY'S   NATUEAL   niSTOET.  [Book  XVIII. 

it  in  the  very  highest  style  is  mere  extravagance,  unless,  in- 
deed, the  work  is  done  by  the  hands  of  a  man's  own  family,  his 
tenants,  or  those  whom  he  is  obliged  to  keep  at  any  rate.  Eut 
besides  this,  even  when  the  owner  tills  the  land  itself,  there 
are  some  crops  which  it  is  really  not  worth  the  while  to  gather, 
if  we  only  take  into  account  the  manual  labour  expended  upon 
them.  The  olive,  too,  should  never  be  too  highly75  cultivated, 
nor  must  certain  soils,  it  is  said,  be  too  carefully  tilled,  those 
of  Sicily,76  for  instance ;  hence  it  is,  that  new  comers  there  so 
often  find  themselves  deceived.77 


In  what  way,  then,  can  land  be  most  profitably  cultivated  ? 
"Why,  in  the  words  of  our  agricultural  oracles,  "  by  making 
good  out  of  bad."  But  here  it  is  only  right  that  we  should  say 
a  word  in  justification  of  our  forefathers,  who  in  their  precepts 
on  this  subject  had  nothing  else  in  view  but  the  benefit  of 
mankind  :  for  when  they  use  the  term  "  bad  "  here,  they  only 
mean  to  say  that  which  costs  the  smallest  amount  of  money. 
The  principal  object  with  them  was  in  all  cases  to  cut  down 
expenses  to  the  lowest  possible  sum  ;  and  it  was  in  this  spirit 
that  they  made  the  enactments  which  pronounced  it  criminal 
for  a  person  who  had  enjoyed  a  triumph,  to  be  in  possession, 
among  his  other  furniture,  of  ten  pounds'  weight  of  silver 
plate :  which  permitted  a  man,  upon  the  death  of  his  farm- 
steward,  to  abandon  all  his  victories,  and  return  to  the  culti- 
vation of  his  lands — such  being  the  men  the  culture  of  whose 
farms  the  state  used  to  take  upon  itself;  and  thus,  while  they 
led  our  armies,  did  the  senate  act  as  their  steward. 

It  was  in  the  same  spirit,  too,  that  those  oracles  of  ours 
have  given  utterance  to  these  other  precepts,  to  the  effect  that 
he  is  a  bad  agriculturist  who  has  to  buy  what  his  farm  might 
have  supplied  him  with  ;  that  the  man  is  a  bad  manager  who 
does  in  the  day-time  what  he  might  have  done  in  the  night, 
except,  indeed,  when  the  state  of  the  weather  does  not  allow 

75  He  means  to  say  that  it  is  so  much  labour  lost,  as  it  will  take  care  of 
itself;  but  this  is  hardly  in  accordance  with  his   numerous   directions 
given  in  B.  xv.     Virgil,  Geor.  B.  ii.  421,  et  seq.,  speaks  of  the  olive  as  re- 
quiring no  attention  when  it  lias  once  taken  root. 

76  See  B.  xvii.  c.  3. 

77  In  throwing  away  money  and  labour  upon  land  that  does  not  require  it. 

Cbap.  7.]  MAXIMS    ON   AGEICULTUBE.  17 

it ;  that  he  is  a  worse  manager  still,  who  does  on  a  work-day 
what  he  might  have  done  on  a  feast-day  ;78  but  that  he  is  the 
very  worst  of  all,  who  works  under  cover  in  fine  weather,  in- 
stead of  labouring  in  the  fields. 

I  cannot  refrain  from  taking  the  present  opportunity  of 
quoting  one  illustration  afforded  us  by  ancient  times,  from 
which  it  will  be  found  that  it  was  the  usage  in  those  days  to 
bring  before  the  people  even  questions  connected  with  the 
various  methods  employed  in  agriculture,  and  will  be  seen  in 
what  way  men  were  accustomed  to  speak  out  in  their  own 
defence.  C.  Furius  Chresimus,  a  freedman,  having  found  him- 
self able,  from  a  very  small  piece  of  land,  to  raise  far  more 
abundant  harvests  than  his  neighbours  could  from  the  largest 
farms,  became  the  object  of  very  considerable  jealousy  among 
them,  and  was  accordingly  accused  of  enticing  away  the  crops 
of  others  by  the  practice  of  sorcery.  Upon  this,  a  day  was 
named  by  Spurius  Calvinus,  the  curule  aedile,  for  his  appear- 
ance. Apprehensive  of  being  condemned,  when  the  question 
came  to  be  put  to  the  vote  among  the  tribes,  he  had  all  his 
implements  of  husbandry  brought  into  the  Forum,  together 
with  his  farm  servants,  robust,  well-conditioned,  and  well- clad 
people,  Piso  says.  The  iron  tools  were  of  first-rate  quality, 
the  mattocks  were  stout  and  strong,  the  plough-shares  ponde- 
rous and  substantial,  and  the  oxen  sleek  and  in  prime  condi- 
tion. When  all  this  had  been  done,  "  Here,  Koman  citi- 
zens," said  he,  "  are  my  implements  of  magic ;  but  it  is  impos- 
sible for  me  to  exhibit  to  your  view,  or  to  bring  into  this 
Forum,  those  midnight  toils  of  mine,  those  early  watchings, 
those  sweats,  and  those  fatigues."  Upon  this,  by  the  unani- 
mous voice  of  the  people,  he  was  immediately  acquitted. 
Agriculture,  in  fact,  depends  upon  the  expenditure  of  labour 
and  exertion ;  and  hence  it  is  that  the  ancients  were  in  the 
habit  of  saying,  that  it  is  the  eye  of  the  master  that  does  more 
towards  fertilizing  a  field  than  anything  else. 

We  shall  give  the  rest  of  these  precepts  in  their  appropriate 
places,  according  as  we  find  them  adapted  to  each  variety  of 
cultivation  ;  but  in  the  meantime  we  must  not  omit  some  of  a 
general  nature,  which  here  recur  to  our  recollection,  and  more 

78  Virgil,  Georg.  I.  268,  et  seq.,  speaks  of  the  work  that  mieht  be  done 
on  feast  days — making  hedges,  for  instance,  irrigating  land,  catching 
birds,  washing  sheep,  and  burning  weeds. 

VOL.    IV.  C 

18  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOBY.         [Book  XVIII, 

particularly  that  maxim  of  Cato,  as  profit-able  as  it  is  humane : 
"  Always  act  in  such  a  way  as  to  secure  the  love  of  your  neigh- 
bours." He  then  proceeds  to  state  his  reasons  for  giving  this 
advice,  but  it  appears  to  me  that  no  one  surely  can  entertain 
the  slightest  doubt  upon  the  subject.  One  of  the  very  first 
recommendations  that  he  gives  is  to  take  every  care  that  the 
farm  servants  are  kept  in  good  condition.79  It  is  a  maxim 
universally  agreed  upon  in  agriculture,  that  nothing  must  be 
done  too  late ;  and  again,  that  everything  must  be  done  at  its 
proper  season ;  while  there  is  a  third  precept,  which  reminds 
us  that  opportunities  lost  can  never  be  regained.  The  male- 
diction uttered  by  Cato  against  rotten  ground  has  been  treated 
of  at  some  length  already ; 80  but  there  is  another  precept  which 
he  is  never  tired  of  repeating,  "  Whatever  can  be  done  by  the 
help  of  the  ass,  will  cost  the  least  money." 

Fern  will  be  sure  to  die  at  the  end  of  a  couple  of  years,  if 
you  prevent  it  from  putting  forth  leaves  ;  the  most  efficient  me- 
thod of  ensuring  this  is  to  beat  the  branches  with  a  stick  while 
they  are  in  bud  ;  for  then  the  juices  that  drop  from  it  will  kill 
the  roots.81  It  is  said,  too,  that  fern  will  not  spring  up  again 
if  it  is  pulled  up  by  the  roots  about  the  turn  of  the  summer 
solstice,  or  if  the  stalks  are  cut  with  the  edge  of  a  reed,  or  if  it 
is  turned  up  with  a  plough-share  with  a  reed  placed82  upon  it. 
In  the  same  way,  too,  we  are  told  that  reeds  may  be  effectually 
ploughed  up,  if  care  is  taken  to  place  a  stalk  of  fern  upon  the 
share.  A  field  infested  with  rushes  should  be  turned  up  with 
the  spade,  or,  if  the  locality  is  stony,  with  a  two-pronged 
mattock  :  overgrown  shrubs  are  best  removed  by  fire.  Where 
ground  is  too  moist,  it  is  an  advantageous  plan  to  cut  trenches 
in  it  and  so  drain  it ;  where  the  soil  is  cretaceous,  these  trenches 
should  be  left  open ;  and  where  it  is  loose,  they  should  be 
strengthened  with  a  hedge  to  prevent  them  from  falling  in. 
When  these  drains  are  made  on  a  declivity,  they  should  have 
a  layer  of  gutter  tiles  at  the  bottom,  or  else  house  tiles  with  the 
face  upwards  :  in  some  cases,  too,  they  should  be  covered83 

79  "  Ne  familias  male  sit."  M  In  B.  xvii.  c.  3. 

ll  The  Pteris  aquilina,  or  female  fern.  No  such  juices  drop  from  it  as 
here  mentioned  by  Pliny,  Fee  says. 

82  A  superstition  quite  unworthy  of  our  author ;  and  the  same  with 
respect  to  that  mentioned  in  the  next  line. 

83  Sub-soil  drainage  is  now  universally  employed,  with  the  agency  of 
draining-tiles,  made  for  the  purpose. 

Chap.  10.]  DIFFERENT    KINDS    OF    GRAIN.  19 

with  earth,  and  made  to  run  into  others  of  a  larger  size  and 
wider ;  the  bottom,  also,  should,  if  possible,  have  a  coating  of 
stones  or  of  gravel.  The  openings,  too,  should  be  strengthened 
with  two  stones  placed  on  either  side,  and  another  laid  upon 
the  top.  Democritus  has  described  a  method  of  rooting  up  a 
forest,  by  first  macerating  the  flower  of  the  lupine84  for  one  day 
in  the  juice  of  hemlock,  and  then  watering  the  roots  of  the 
trees  with  it. 

CHAP.  9.   (7.) — THE  DIFFERENT    KINDS    OF    GRAIN. 

As  the  field  is  now  prepared,  we  shall  proceed  to  speak  of 
the  nature  of  the  various  kinds  of  grain ;  we  must  premise, 
however,  that  there  are  two  principal  classes  of  grain,  the 
cereals,85  comprising  wheat  and  barley,  and  the  legumina,  such 
as  the  bean  and  the  chick-pea,  for  instance.  The  difference 
between  these  two  classes  is  too  well  known  to  require  any 
further  description. 


The  cereals  are  divided  again  into  the  same  number  of 
varieties,  according  to  the  time  of  the  year  at  which  they 
are  sown.  The  winter  grains  are  those  which  are  put  in 
the  ground  about  the  setting  of  the  Vergiliae,86  and  there  re- 
ceive their  nutriment  throughout  the  winter,  for  instance, 
wheat,87  spelt,88  and  barley.89  The  summer  grains  are  those 
which  are  sown  in  summer,  before  the  rising  of  the  Vergiliae,90 

84  The  flower  of  the  lupine  could  not  possibly  produce  any  such  effect ; 
and  the  juice  of  cicuta,  or  hemlock,  in  only  a  very  trifling  degree, 

85  This  word  answers  to  the  Latin  "  frumenta,"  which  indicates  all  those 
kinds  of  corn  from  which  bread  was  prepared  by  the  ancients. 

86  See  c.  59  of  this  Hook. 

87  Triticum  hibernum  of  Linnaeus,  similar  to  the  "siligo"  mentioned  in 
"the  sequel.     Winter  wheat  was  greatly  cultivated  in  Apulia. 

88  "  Far."     This  name  is  often  used  in  the  classics,  to  signify  corn  in 
general;  but  in  the  more  restricted  sense  in  which  it  is  here  employed,  it  is 
"Triticum  dicoccum,"  the  "Zea"  of  the  Greeks.     It  consists  of  two  varie- 
ties, the  single  grained,  the  Triticum  monococcum  of  Linnaeus,   and  the 
double-grained,  the  Triticum  spelta  of  Linnaeus,  which  is  still  called  "  farra'' 
in  Friuli. 

89  Hordeum  sativum  of  Linnaeus. 

90  See  c.  66  of  this  Book. 

C  2 

20  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTOBT.          [Book  XVIII. 

such  as  millet,91  panic,92  sesame,93  horminum,94  and  irio,95  in 
accordance,  however,  with  the  usage  of  Italy  only ;  for  in 
Greece  and  Asia  all  the  grains  are  sown  just  after  the  setting  of 
the  Vergiliae.  There  are  some,  again,  that  are  sown  at  either 
season  in  Italy,  and  others  at  a  third  period,  or,  in  other 
words,  in  the  spring.  Some  authors  give  the  name  of  spring- 
grain  to  millet,  panic,  lentils,96  chick-peas,97  and  alica,98 
while  they  call  wheat,  barley,  beans,  turnips,  and  rape,  semen- 
tive  or  early  sowing  seeds.  Certain  species  of  wheat  are  only 
sown  to  make  fodder  for  cattle,  and  are  known  by  the  name  of 
"  farrago,"99  or  mixed  grain;  the  same,  too,  with  the  legumi- 
nous plants,  the  vetch,  for  instance.  The  lupine,1  hdwever,  is 
grown  in  common  as  food  for  both  cattle  and  men. 

All  the  leguminous2  plants,  with  the  exception  of  the  bean, 
have  a  single  root,  hard  and  tough,  like  wood,  and  destitute  of 
numerous  ramifications ;  the  chick-pea  has  the  deepest  root  of 
all.  Corn  has  numerous  fibrous  roots,  but  no  ramifications. 
Barley  makes  its  appearance3  above  ground  the  seventh  day 
after  sowing ;  the  leguminous  plants  on  the  fourth,  or  at  the 
very  latest,  the  seventh ;  the  bean  from  the  fifteenth  day  to 
the  twentieth  :  though  in  Egypt  the  leguminous  plants  appear 
as  early  as  the  third  day  after  they  are  sown.  In  barley,  ono 
extremity  of  the  grain  throws  out  the  root,  and  the  other  tho 

91  Panicum  Italicum  of  Linnaeus. 

92  Panicum  miliaceum  of  Linnaeus.    This  was  probably  one  of  the  first 
grains  from  which  bread  was  made. 

93  The  Sesamum  orientale  of  Linnaeus.     It  is  no  longer  cultivated  in 
Europe,  though  formerly  it  was  much  used  in  Greece. 

94  It  is  very  doubtful  if  this  is  the  same  as  clary,  the  Salvia  horminum 
of  Linnaeus,  as  that  is  one  of  the  Labiatae,  whereas  here,  most  probably,  a 

leguminous  plant  is  spoken  of. 
95  It  has  bee 

een  asserted  that  this  is  identical  with  the  Sisymbrium  poly- 

ceratium  of  Linnaeus,  rock-gentle,  rock-gallant,  or  winter-cress.  Fee,  how- 
ever, is  strongly  of  opinion  that  it  cap  only  be  looked  for  in  the  Sisym- 
brium irio  of  Linnaeus. 

96  Ervum  lens  of  Linnaeus. 

97  The  Cicer  arietinum  of  naturalists,  the  Garbanzo   of  the  Spaniards. 
It  abounds  in  the  south  of  Europe  and  in  India. 

98  A  variety  of  spelt  was  called  by  this  name  ;  but  it  was  more  gene- 
rally applied  to  a  kind  of  flummery,  pottage  or  gruel. 

99  Hence  our  word  "forage/* 

1  Lupinus  hirsutus  and  pilosus  of  Linnaeus. 

2  From  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  viii.  c.  2. 

3  All  this,  of  course,  depencte  upon  numerous  circumstances. 

Chap.  10.J  DIFFERENT   KINDS    OF    GBAIN.  21 

blade ;  this  last  flowers,  too,  before  the  other  grain.  In  the 
cereals  in  general  it  is  the  thicker  end  of  the  seed  that  throws 
out  the  root,  the  thinner  end  the  blossom ;  while  in  the  other 
seeds  both  root  and  blossom  issue  from  the  same  part. 

During  the  winter,  corn  is  in  the  blade ;  but  in  the  spring 
winter  corn  throws  out  a  tall  stem.  As  for  millet  and  panic, 
they  grow  with  a  jointed  and  grooved4  stalk,  while  sesame  has 
a  stem  resembling  that  of  fennel-giant.  The  fruit  of  all  these 
seeds  is  either  contained  in  an  ear,  as  in  wheat  and  barley,  for 
instance,  and  protected  from  the  attacks  of  birds  and  small 
animals  by  a  prickly  beard  bristling  like  so  many  palisades ;  or 
else  it  is  enclosed  in  pods,  as  in  the  leguminous  plants,  or  in 
capsules,  as  in  sesame  and  the  poppy.  Millet  and  panic  can 
only  be  said  to  belong  to  the  grower  and  the  small  birds  in 
common,  as  they  have  nothing  but  a  thin  membrane  to  cover 
them,  without  the  slightest  protection.  Panic  receives  that 
name  from  the  panicule5  or  down  that  is  to  be  seen  upon  it; 
the  head  of  it  droops  languidly,  and  the  stalk  tapers  gra- 
dually in  thickness,  being  of  almost  the  toughness  and  con- 
sistency of  wood  :  the  head  is  loaded  with  grain  closely  packed, 
there  being  a  tuft  upon  the  top,  nearly  a  foot  in  length.  In 
millet  the  husks  which  embrace  the  grain  bend  downward  with 
a  wavy  tuft  upon  the  edge.  There  are  several  varieties  of 
panic,  the  mammose,  for  instance,  the  ears  of  which  are  in 
clusters  with  small  edgings  of  down,  the  head  of  the  plant 
being  double  ;  it  is  distinguished  also  according  to  the  colour, 
the  white,  for  instance,  the  black,  the  red,  and  the  purple 
even.  Several  kinds  of  bread  are  made  from  millet,  but  very 
little  from  panic  :  there  is  no  grain  known  that  weighs  heavier 
than  millet,  and  which  swells  more  in  baking,  A  modius  of 
millet  will  yield  sixty  pounds'  weight  of  bread;  and  three 
sextarii  steeped  in  water  will  make  one  modius  of  ferraenty.6 
A  kind  of  millet7  has  been  introduced  from  India  into  Italy 
within  the  last  ten  years,  of  a  swarthy  colour,  large  grain,  and  a 

4  This  is  certainly  the  fact,  as  Fee  says,  but  it  is  the  same  with  all  the 

3  A  characteristic  of  the  Panicuin  miliaceum  in  particular. 

6  Or  porridge;  "puls." 

7  It  has  been  suggested  that  this  was  maize,  but  that  is  indigenous  to 
South  America.    Fee  has  little  doubt  that  it  is  the  Holcus  sorgho  of  Lin- 
naeus, the  *'  Indian  millet,"  that  is  meant. 

22  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XVIII. 

stalk  like  that  of  the  reed.  This  stalk  springs  up  to  the  height 
of  seven  feet,  and  has  tufts  of  a  remarkable  size,  known  by  the 
name  of  "  phobse."  8  This  is  the  most  prolific  of  all  the  cereals, 
for  from  a  single  grain  no  less  than  three  sextarii9  are  pro- 
duced :  it  requires,  however,  to  be  sown  in  a  humid  soil. 

Some  kinds  of  corn  begin  to  form  the  ear  at  the  third  joint, 
and  others  at  the  fourth,  though  at  its  first  formation  the  ear 
remains  still  concealed.  Wheat,  however,  has  four10  articula- 
tions, spelt11  six,  and  barley  eight.  In  the  case  of  these  last, 
the  ear  does  not  begin  to  form  before  the  number  of  joints,  as 
above  mentioned,  is  complete.  Within  four  or  five  days,  at 
the  very  latest,  after  the  ear  has  given  signs  of  forming,  the 
plant  begins  to  flower,  and  in  the  course  of  as  many  days  or  a 
little  more,  sheds  its  blossom  :  barley  blossoms  at  the  end  of 
seven  days  at  the  very  latest.  Yarro  says  that  the  grains  are 
perfectly  formed  at  the  end  of  four  times12  nine  days  from  their 
flowering,  and  are  ready  for  cutting  at  the  ninth  month. 

The  bean,  again,  first  appears  in  leaf,  and  then  throws  out 
a  stalk,  which  has  no  articulations13  upon  it.  The  other  legu- 
minous plants  have  a  tough,  ligneous  stalk,  and  some  of  them 
throw  out  branches,  the  chick-pea,  the  fitch,  and  the  lentil, 
for  instance.  In  some  of  the  leguminous  plants,  the  pea,  for 
example,  the  stem  creeps  along  the  ground,  if  care  is  not  taken 
to  support  it  by*  sticks  :  if  this  precaution  is  omitted,  the 
quality  is  deteriorated.  The  bean  and  the  lupine  are  the  only 
ones  among  the  leguminous  plants  that  have  a  single  stem  :  in 
all  the  others  the  stem  throws  out  branches,  being  of  a  lig- 
neous nature,  very  thin,  and  in  all  cases  hollow.  Some  of 
these  plants  throw  out  the  leaves  from  the  root,  others  at  the 
top.14  Wheat,  barley,  and  the  vetch,  all  the  plants,  in  fact, 
which  produce  straw,  have  a  single  leaf  only  at  the  summit  : 
in  barley,  however,  this  leaf  is  rough,  while  in  the  others  it 

8  From  the  Greek  0o/3^.    The  stalk  and  husk  of  the  sorgho  is  covered 
with  a  fine  down.     The  reading  "  cx>rnis  "  has  heen  adopted. 

9  This  is  considered  by  Fee  to  be  very  improbable. 

1  In  reality  these  vary,  according  to  the  rapidity  of  the  growth. 

11  Strictly  speaking,  spelt  has  seven. 

12  This  depends  upon  the  time  when  it  is  sown,  and  numerous  other  cir- 

13  Strictly  speaking,  he  is  right  ;   but  still  there  is  a  swelling  in  the 
stalk,  to  be  perceived  at  the  points  where  the  leaves  take  their  rise. 

u  This  is  incorrect  ;  they  all  of  them  throw  out  leaves  from  the  root. 

Chap.  10.]  DIFFERENT   KINDS   OF    GRAItf.  23 

is  smooth.  *  *  *  In  the  bean,  again,  the  chick-pea,  and  the 
pea,  the  leaves  are  numerous  and  divided.  In  corn  the  leaf 
is  similar  to  that  of  the  reed,  while  in  the  hean  it  is  round,  as 
also  in  a  great  proportion  of  the  leguminous  plants.  In  the 
erviliu15  and  the  pea  the  leaf  is  long,16  in  the  kidney-bean 
veined,  and  in  sesame17  and  irio  the  colour  of  blood.  The 
lupine  and  the  poppy  are  the  only  ones  among  these  plants  that 
lose18  their  leaves. 

The  leguminous  plants  remain  a  longer  time  in  flower,  the 
fitch  and  the  chick-pea  more  particularly  ;  but  the  bean  is  in 
blossom  the  longest  of  them  all,  for  the  flower  remains  on  it 
forty  days ;  not,  indeed,  that  each  stalk  retains  its  blossom 
for  all  that  length  of  time,  but,  as  the  flower  goes  off  in 
one,  it  comes  on  in  another.  In  the  bean,  too,  the  crop  is  not 
ripe  all  at  once,  as  is  the  case  with  corn  ;  for  the  pods  make 
their  appearance  at  different  times,  at  the  lowest  parts  first, 
the  blossom  mounting  upwards  by  degrees. 

When  the  blossom  is  off  in  corn,  the  stalk  gradually  thickens, 
and  it  ripens  within  forty  days  at  the  most.  The  same  is  the 
case,  too,  with  the  bean,  but  the  chick-pea  takes  a  much  shorter 
time  to  ripen  ;  indeed,  it  is  fit  for  gathering  within  forty  days 
from  the  time  that  it  is  sown.  Millet,  panic,  sesame,  and  all  the 
summer  grains  are  ripe  within  forty  days  after  blossoming, 
with  considerable  variations,  of  course,  in  reference  to  soil  and 
weather.  Thus,  in  Egypt,  we  find  barley  cut  at  the  end  of 
six  months,  and  wheat  at  the  end  of  seven,  from  the  time  of 
sowing.  In  Hellas,  again,  barley  is  cut  in  the  seventh  month, 
and  in  Peloponnesus  in  the  eighth ;  the  wheat  being  got  in  at 
a  still  later  period. 

Those  grains  which  grow  on  a  stalk  of  straw  are  enclosed 
in  an  envelope  protected  by  a  prickly  beard ;  while  in  the  bean 
and  the  leguminous  plants  in  general  they  are  enclosed  in  pods 
upon  branches  which  shoot  alternately  from  either  side.  The 
cereals  are  the  best  able  to  withstand  the  winter,  but  the  legu- 
minous plants  afford  the  most  substantial  food.  In  wheat,  the 

15  The  same  as  the  "  Ervum"  probably,  the  fitch,  orobus,  or  bitter  vetch. 

16  Not  so  with  the  pea,  as  known  to  us. 

17  This  is  only  true  at  the  end  of  the  season,  and  when  the  plant  is 

18  These  annuals  lose  their  leaves  only  that  have  articulations  on  the 
stem  ;  otherwise  they  die  outright  at  the  fall  of  the  leaf. 

24  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOBY.        [Book  XVIII. 

grain  has  several  coats,  but  in  barley,19  more  particularly,  it  is 
naked  and  exposed  ;  the  same,  too,  with  arinca,20  but  most  of 
all,  the  oat.  The  stem  is  taller  in  wheat  than  it  is  in  barley, 
but  the  ear  is  more  bearded21  in  the  last.  Wheat,  barley,  and 
winter- wheat22  are  threshed  out ;  they  are  cleaned,  too,  for 
sowing  just  as  they  are  prepared  for  the  mill,  there  being  no 
necessity  for  parching23  them.  Spelt,  on  the  other  hand,  millet, 
and  panic,  cannot  be  cleaned  without  parching  them  ;  hence  it 
is  that  they  are  always  sown  raw  and  with  the  chaff  on.  Spelt 
is  preserved  in  the  husk,  too,  for  sowing,  and,  of  course,  is  not 
in  such  case  parched  by  the  action  of  fire. 

CHAP.  11. — SPELT. 

Of  all  these  grains  barley  is  the  lightest,*4  its  weight  rarely 
exceeding  fifteen  pounds  to  the  modius,  while  that  of  the  bean 
is  twenty-two.  Spelt  is  much  heavier  than  barley,  and  wheat 
heavier  than  spelt.  In  Egypt  they  make  a  meal25  of  olyra,26 
a  third  variety  of  corn  that  grows  there.  The  Gauls  ^  have 
also  a  kind  of  spelt  peculiar  to  that  country :  they  give  it  the 
name  of  "  brace/'27  while  to  us  it  is  known  as  " sandala :"  it 
has  a  grain  of  remarkable  whiteness.  Another  difference, 
again,  is  the  fact  that  it  yields  nearly  four  pounds  more  of^ 
bread  to  the  modius  than  any  other  kind  of  spelt.  Yerrius 

/states  that  for  three  hundred  years  the  Romans  made  use  of  no, 

I  other  meal  than  that  of  corn. 

19  If  by  "  tunica'*  lie  means  the  husk  of  chaff,  which  surrounds  the 
grain,  the  assertion  is  contrary  to  the  fact,  in  relation  to  barley  and  the 

»°  Only  another  name,  Fee  thinks,  for  the  Triticum  hibernum,  or  winter- 
wheat.  Spelt  or  zea  has  been  suggested,  as  also  the  white  barley  of  the 
south  of  Europe ;  see  c.  20. 

21  Egyptian  wheat,  or  rather  what  is  called  mummy-wheat,  is  bearded 
equally  to  barley. 

22  Siligo.  ^  Before  grinding. 

24  Oats  and  rye  excepted. 

25  Here  the  word  "far"  means  "  a  meal,"  or  "flour,"  a  substitute  for 
that  of  "  far,"  or  "  spelt." 

26  Triticum  monococcum,  according  to  some.     Fee  identifies  it  with 
the  Triticum  spelta  of  Linnaeus. 

27  A  variety,  probably,  of  the  Triticum  hibenmm  of  Linnaeus,  with  white 
grains ;  the  white-wheat  of  the  French,  from  which  the  ancient  Gauls 
made  their  malt ;  hence  the  French  word  "  brasser,"  to  "brew." 

Chap.  12.]  WHEAT.  25 

CHAP.    12. — WHEAT. 

There  are  numerous  kinds  of  wheat  which  have  received 
their  names  from  the  countries  where  they  were  first  produced. 
For  my  part,  however,  I  can  compare  no  kind  of  wheat  to 
that  of  Italy  either  for  whiteness  or  weight,  qualities  for  which 
it  is  more  particularly  distinguished :  indeed  it  is  only  with 
the  produce  of  the  more  mountainous  parts  of  Italy  that  the 
foreign  wheats  can  be  put  in  comparison.  Among  these  the 
wheat  of  Bosotia'28  occupies  the  first  rank,  that  of  Sicily  the 
second,  and  that  of  Africa  the  third.  The  wheats  of  Thrace, 
Syria,  and,  more  recently,  of  Egypt,  used  to  hold  the  third  rank 
for  weight,  these  facts  having  been  ascertained  through  the 
medium  of  the  athletes;  whose  powers  of  consumption,  equal 
to  those  of  beasts  of  burden,  have  established  the  gradations  in. 
weight,  as  already  stated.  Greece,  too,  held  the  Pontic 29  wheat 
in  high  esteem ;  but  this  has  not  reached  Italy  as  yet.  Of 
all  the  varieties  of  grain,  however,  the  Greeks  gave  the  pre- 
ference to  the  kinds  called  dracontion,  strangia,  and  Selinusium, 
the  chief  characteristic  of  which  is  a  stem  of  remarkable  thick- 
ness :  it  was  this,  in  the  opinion  of  the  Greeks,  that  marked 
them  as  the  peculiar  growth  of  a  rich  soil.  On  the  other  hand, 
they  recommended  for  sowing  in  humid  soils  an  extremely 
light  and  diminutive  species  of  grain,  with  a  remarkably  thin 
stalk,  known  to  them  as  speudias,  and  standing  in  need  of  an 
abundance  of  nutriment.  Such,  at  all  events,  were  the  opi- 
nions generally  entertained  in  the  reign  of  Alexander  the  Great, 
at  a  time  when  Greece  was  at  the  height  of  her  glory,  and  the 
most  powerful  country  in  the  world.  Still,  however,  nearly 
one  hundred  and  forty-four  years  before  the  death  of  that 
prince  we  find  the  poet  Sophocles,  in  his  Tragedy  of  "  Trip- 
tolemus,"  praising  the  corn  of  Italy  before  all  others.  The 
passage,  translated  word  for  word,  is  to  the  following  effect  :— 

"And  favour'd  Italy  grows  white  with  hoary  wheat." 

And  it  is  this  whiteness  that  is  still  one  of  the  peculiar  merits 
of  the  Italian  wheat ;  a  circumstance  which  makes  me  the  more 
surprised  to  find  that  none  of  the  Greek  writers  of  a  later 
period  have  made  any  reference  to  it. 

28  From  Theophrastus,  De  Causis,  B.  iv. 

29  That  of  the  Ukraine  and  its  vicinity,  which  is  still  held  in  high  esteem. 


Of  the  various  kinds  of  wheat  which  are  imported  at  the 
present  day  into  Eome,  the  lightest  in  weight  are  those  which 
come  from  Gaul  and  Chersonnesus ;  for,  upon  weighing  them, 
it  will  be  found  that  they  do  not  yield  more  than  twenty 
pounds  to  the  modius.  The  grain  of  Sardinia  weighs  half  a 
pound  more,  and  that  of  Alexandria  one- third  of  a  pound  more 
than  xthat  of  Sardinia ;  the  Sicilian  wheat  is  the  same  in 
,  weight  as  the  Alexandrian.  The  Boeotian  wheat,  again,  weighs 
a  whole  pound  more  than  these  last,  and  that  of  Africa  a  pound 
and  three  quarters.  In  Italy  beyond  the  Pad  us,  the  spelt,  to 
my  knowledge,  weighs  twenty-five  pounds  to  the  modius,  and, 
in  the  vicinity  of  Clusium,  six-and-twenty.  We  find  it  a 
rule,  universally  established  by  Nature,  that  in  every  kind  of 
commissariat  bread30  that  is  made,  the  bread  exceeds  the  weight 
of  the  grain  by  one- third ;  and  in  the  same  way  it  is  generally 
considered  that  that  is  the  best  kind  of  wheat,  which,  in 
kneading,  will  absorb  one  congius  of  water.31  There  are  some 
kinds  of  wheat  which  give,  when  used  by  themselves,  an  ad- 
ditional weight  equal  to  this ;  the  Balearic  wheat,  for  instance, 
which  to  a  modius  of  grain  yields  thirty-five  pounds  weight  of 
bread.  Others,  again,  will  only  give  this  additional  weight 
by  being  mixed  with  other  kinds,  the  Cyprian  wheat  and  the 
Alexandrian,  for  example ;  which,  if  used  by  themselves,  will 
yield  no  more  than  twenty  pounds' to  the  modius.  The  wheat 
of  Cyprus  is  swarthy,  and  produces  a  dark  bread ;  for  which 
reason  it  is  generally  mixed  with  the  white  wheat  of  Alexan- 
dria ;  the  mixture  yielding  twenty-five  pounds  of  bread  to  the 
modius  of  grain.  The  wheat  of  Thebais,  in  Egypt,  when 
made  into  bread,  yields  twenty-six  pounds  to  the  modius.  To 
knead  the  meal  with  sea- water,  as  is  mostly  done  in  the  mari- 
time districts,  for  the  purpose  of  saving  the  salt,  is' extremely 
pernicious ;  there  is  nothing,  in  fact,  that  will  more  readily 
predispose  the  human  body  to  disease.  In  Gaul  and  Spain, 
where  they  make  a  drink32  by  steeping  corn  in  the  way  that 
has  been  already  described — they  employ  the  foam33  which 
thickens  upon  the  surface  as  a  leaven :  hence  it  is  that 
the  bread  in  those  countries  is  lighter  than  that  made  else- 

30  Panis  militaris.  si  To  the  modius  of  wheat. 

He  alludes  to  beer,  or  sweet- wort.     See  B.  xiv.  c.  29. 
33  He  alludes  to  yeast.     See  B.  xxii.  c.  82. 

Uhap.  13.] 


There  are  some  differences,  also,  in  the  stem  of  wheat ;  for 
;he  better  the  kind  the  thicker  it  is.  In  Thrace,  the  stem  of 
;he  wheat  is  covered  with  several  coats,*4  which  are  rendered 
absolutely  necessary  by  the  excessive  cold  of  those  regions. 
Ct  is  the  cold,  also,  that  led  to  the  discovery  there  of  the  three- 
nonth38  wheat,  the  ground  being  covered  with  snow  most 
)f  the  year.  At  the  end  mostly  of  three  months  after  it  has 
3een  sown,  this  wheat  is  ready  for  cutting,  both  in  Thrace  and 
.n  other  parts  of  the  world  as  well.  This  variety  is  well  known, 
#o,  throughout  all  the  Alpine  range,  and  in  the  northern  pro- 
rinces  there  is  no  kind  of  wheat  that  is  more  prolific ;  it  has 
i  single  stem  only,  is  by  no  means  of  large  size  in  any  part  of 
it,  and  is  never  sown  but  in  a  thin,  light  soil.  There  is  a  two- 
month36  wheat  also  found  in  the  vicinity  of  -^Enos,  in  Thrace, 
which  ripens  the  fortieth  day  after  sowing ;  and  yet  it  is  a 
surprising  fact,  that  there  is  no  kind  of  wheat  that  weighs 
heavier  than  this,  while  at  the  same  time  it  produces  no  bran. 
Both  Sicily  and  Achaia  grow  it,  in  the  mountainous  districts 
i  of  those  countries  ;  as  also  Eubcea,  in  the  vicinity  of  Carystus. 
i  So  greatly,  then,  is  Columella  in  error,37  in  supposing  that 
|  there  is  no  distinct  variety  of  three-month  wheat  even ;  the 
fact  being  that  these  varieties  have  been  known  from  the  very 
earliest  times.  The  Greeks  give  to  these  wheats  the  name 
;  of  "  setanion."  It  is  said  that  in  Bactria  the  grains  of  wheat 
are  of  such  an  enormous  size,  that  a  single  one  is  as  large  as 
our  ears  of  corn.38 

CHAP.   13. BARLEY  :    BICE. 

Of  all  the  cereals  the  first  that  is  sown  is  barley.  We  shall 
state  the  appropriate  time  for  sowing  each  kind  when  we  come 
to  treat  of  the  nature  of  each  individually.  In  India,  there  is 

34  This  assertion,  from  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  viii.  c.  4,  is  not 
based  on  truth.  It  is  possible  that  he  may  allude  in  reality  to  some  other 
gramineous  plant. 

ss  Trimestre.  36  Bimestre. 

37  Columella  (B.  ii.  c.  6)  does  not  state  to  this  effect ;  on  the  contrary, 
he  speaks  of  the  existence  of  a  three  months'  wheat ;  but  he  asserts,  and  with 

*  justice,  that  wheat  sown  in  the  autumn  is  better  than  that  sown  in  March. 

38  If  he  alludes  here  to  what  Theophrastus  says,  his  assertion  is  simply 
that,  in  Bactria,  the  grains  are  as  large  as  an  olive-stone. 

28  PLINY'S  FATUEAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XVIII. 

both  a  cultivated  and  a  wild39  barley,  from  which  they  make 
excellent  bread?  as  well  as  alica.40  But  the  most  favourite 
food  of  all  there  is  rice,41  from  which  they  prepare  a  ptisan42 
similar  to  that  made  from  barley  in  other  parts  of  the  world. 
The  leaves  of  rice  are  fleshy,43  very  like  those  of  the  leek,  but 
broader ;  the  stem  is  a  cubit  in  height,  the  blossom  purple, 
and  the  root  globular,  like  a  pearl  in  shape.44 

CHAP.    14. POLENTA. 

Barley  is  one  of  the  most  ancient  aliments  of  man,  a  fact 
that  is  proved  by  a  custom  of  the  Athenians,  mentioned  by 
Menander,45  as  also  by  the  name  of  "  hordearii,"46  that  used  to 
be  given  to  gladiators.  The  Greeks,  too,  prefer  barley  to  any- 
thing else  for  making  polenta.47  This  food  is  made  in  various 
ways  :  in  Greece,  the  barley  is  first  steeped  in  water,  and  then 
left  a  night  to  dry.  The  next  day  they  parch  it,  and  then 
grind  it  in  the  mill.  Some  persons  parch  it  more  highly,  and 
then  sprinkle  it  again  with  a  little  water ;  after  which  they 
dry  it  for  grinding.  Others  shake  the  grain  from  out  of  the 
ear  while  green,  and,  after  cleaning  and  soaking  it  in  water, 
pound  it  in  a  mortar.  They  then  wash  the  paste  in  baskets, 
and  leave  it  to  dry  in  the  sun ;  after  which  they  pound  it  again, 
clean  it,  and  grind  it  in  the  mill.  But  whatever  the  mode  of 
preparation  adopted,  the  proportions  are  always  twenty  pounds 
of  barley  to  three  pounds  of  linseed,48  half  a  pound  of  coriander, 
and  fifteen  drachmae49  of  salt :  the  ingredients  are  first  parched, 
and  then  ground  in  the  mill. 

Those  who  want  it  for  keeping,  store  it  in  new  earthen 
vessels,  with  fine  flour  and  bran.  In  Italy,  the  barley  is 
parched  without  being  steeped  in  water,  and  then  ground  to  a 

39  There  is  no  wild  barley  in  India  at  the  present  day. 

40  Porridge,  or  fermenty.  41  Oryza  sativa  of  Linnaeus. 
13  Like  our  rice-milk,  probably.     See  B.  xxii.  c.  26. 

43  They  are  not  carnose  or  fleshy,  but  thin,  and  similar  to  those  of  the 

44  On  the  contrary,  it  is  tough  and  fibrous. 

45  The  barley  was,  originally,  the  prize  given  to  the  victor  in  the  Eleu- 
sinian  games. 

46  Or  «  barley-fed."  v  The  aXtyirov  of  the  Greeks. 

48  This,  as  Fee  observes,  would  tend  to  give  it  a  very  disagreeable  flavour. 

49  "  Acetabuluin.'* 

Chap.  17.]  AMTLUM.  29 

fine  meal,  with  the  addition  of  the  ingredients  already  men- 
tioned, and  some  millet  as  well.  Barley  bread,  which  was 
extensively  used  by  the  ancients,  has  now  fallen  into  universal 
disrepute,  and  is  mostly  used  as  a  food  for  cattle  only. 

CHAP.  15. — PTISAN. 

With  barley,  too,  the  food  called  ptisan60  is  made,  a  most 
substantial  and  salutary  aliment,  and  one  that  is  held  in  very 
high  esteem.  Hippocrates,  one  of  the  most  famous  writers  on 
medical  science,  has  devoted  a  whole  volume  to  the  praises  of 
this  aliment.  The  ptisan  of  the  highest  quality  is  that  which 
is  made  at  Utica ;  that  of  Egypt  is  prepared  from  a  kind^of 
barley, the  grain  of  which  grows  with  two  points.61  In  Baetica 
and  Africa,  the  kind  of  barley  from  which  this  food  is  made  is 
that  which  Turranius  calls  the  " smooth "52 barley:  the  same 
author  expresses  an  opinion,  too,  that  olyra  *  and  rice  are  the 
same.  The  method  of  preparing  ptisan  is  universally  known. 

CHAP.   16. TRAGUM. 

In  a  similar  manner,  too,  tragum  is  prepared  from  seed M 
wheat,  but  only  in  Campania  and  Egypt. 

CHAP.    17. AMYLTJM. 

Amylum  is  prepared  from  every  kind  of  wheat,  and  from 
winter- wheat w  as  well ;  but  the  best  of  all  is  that  made  from 
three-month  wheat.  The  invention  of  it  we  owe  to  the  island 
of  Chios,  and  still,  at  the  present  day,  the  most  esteemed  kind 
comes  from  there ;  it  derives  its  name  from  its  being  made 
without  the  help  of  the  mill.56  Next  to  the  amylum  made 
with  three-month  wheat,  is  that  which  is  prepared  from  the 
lighter  kinds  of  wheat.  In  making  it,  the  grain  is  soaked  in 

50  Similar  to  our  pearl  barley,  probably. 

81  "  Anguli."  Dalecharaps  interprets  this  as  two  rows  of  grain ;  but 
Fee  thinks  that  it  signifies  angles,  and  points.  The  Polygonum  fagopyrum 
of  Linnaeus,  he  says,  buck-wheat,  or  black-wheat,  has  an  angular  gram, 
but  he- doubts  whether  that  can  possihly  be  the  grain  here  alluded  to. 

52  There  is  no  barley  without  a  beard ;  it  is  clearly  a  variety  of  wheat 
that  is  alluded  to. 

53  Triticum  spelta  of  Linnaeus. 

54  "  Semen,"  the  same  as  zea,  or  spelt. 

15  Siligo.  5 


fresh  water,  placed  in  wooden  vessels  ;  care  being  taken  to  keep 
it  covered  with  the  liquid,  which  is  changed  no  less  than  five 
times  in  the  course  of  the  day.  If  it  can  be  changed  at  night 
as  well,  it  is  all  the  better  for  it,  the  object  being  to  let  it^ 
imbibe  the  water  gradually  and  equally.  When  it  is  quite' 
soft,  but  before  it  turns  sour,  it  is  passed  through  linen  cloth, 
or  else  wicker-work,  after  which  it  is  poured  out  upon  a  tile 
covered  with  leaven,  and  left  to  harden  in  the  sun.  Next  to 
the  amylum  of  Chios,  that  of  Crete  is  the  most  esteemed,  and 
next  to  that  the  ^Egyptian.  The  tests  of  its  goodness  are  its 
being  light  and  smooth :  it  should  be  used,  too,  while  it  is 
fresh.  Cato,57  among  our  writers,  has  made  mention  of  it. 


Barley-meal,  too,  is  employed  for  medicinal  purposes ;  and 
it  is  a  curious  fact,  that  for  beasts  of  burden  they  make  a  paste 
of  it,  which  is  first  hardened  by  the  action  of  fire,  and  then 
ground.  It  is  then  made  up  into  balls,  which  are  introduced 
Adth  the  hand  into  the  paunch,  the  result  of  which  is,  that  the 
vigour  and  muscular  strength  of  the  animal  is  considerably 
increased.  In  some  kinds  of  barley,  the  ears  have  two  rows 
of  grains,58  and  in  others  more ;  in  some  cases,  as  many  as  six.59 
The  grain  itself,  too,  presents  certain  differences,  being  long 
and  thin,  or  else  short  or  round,  white,  black,60  or,  in  some 
instances,  of  a  purple  colour.  This  last  kind  is  employed  for 
making  polenta  :  the  white  is  ill  adapted  for  standing  the  se- 
verity of  the  weather.  Barley  is  the  softest  of  all  the  grains  : 
it  can  only  be  sown  in  a  dry,  loose  soil,61  but  fertile  withal. 
The  chaff  of  barley  ranks  among  the  very  best ;  indeed,  for 
litter  there  is  none  that  can  be  compared  with  it.  Of  all  grain, 
barley  is  the  least  exposed  to  accidents,  as  it  is  gathered  before 
the  time  that  mildew  begins  to  attack  wheat ;  for  which  reason 
it  is  that  the  provident  agriculturist  sows  only  as  much  wheat 

57  De  Be  Rust.  c.  87.  This  "  amylum"  seems  somewhat  to  resemble  our 
starch.  58  The  Hordeum  distichum  of  Linnaeus. 

59  Hordeum  hexastichum  of  Linnaeus.     The  Hordeum  vulgare,  or  com- 
mon  barley,  has  but  four  rows. 

60  These  varieties  are  not  known  at  the  present  day,  and  Fee  questions 
if  they  ever  existed.     There  is  a  black  barley  found  in  Germany,  the  Hor- 
deum nigrum  of  Willdenow. 

61  A  calcareous  soil  is  the  best  adapted  for  barley. 

Chap.  19.]  GRAIN    GROWN   IN   THE    EAST.  31 

as  may  be  required  for  food.  The  saying  is,  that  "  barley  is 
sown  in  a  money-bag,"  because  it  so  soon  returns  a  profit. 
The  most  prolific  kind  of  all  is  that  which  is  got  in  at  Car- 
thage,62 in  Spain,  in  the  month  of  April.  It  is  in  the  same 
month  that  it  is  sown  in  Celtiberia,  and  yet  it  yields  two  har- 
vests in  the  same  year.  All  kinds  of  barley  are  cut  sooner  than 
other  grain,  and  immediately  after  they  are  ripe ;  for  the  straw 
is  extremely  brittle,  and  the  grain  is  enclosed  in  a  husk  of  re- 
markable thinness.  It  is  said,  too,  that  a  better  polenta 63  is 
made  from  it,  if  it  is  gathered  before  it  is  perfectly  ripe. 

CHAP.     19.    (8.) ARINCA,    AND    OTHER    KINDS    OF    GRAIN    THAT 

ARE    GROWN    IN    THE    EAST. 

The  several  kinds  of  corn  are  not  everywhere  the  same  ;  and 
even  where  they  are  the  same,  they  do  not  always  bear  a  simi- 
lar name.  The  kinds  most  universally  grown  are  spelt,  by  the 
ancients  known  as  "adorea,"  winter  wheat,64  and  wheat;65  all 
these  being  common  to  many  countries.  Arinca  was  originally 
peculiar  to  Gaul,  though  now  it  is  widely  diifused  over  Italy 
as  well.  Egypt,  too,  Syria,  Cilicia,  Asia,  and  Greece,  have  their 
own  peculiar  kinds,  known  by  the  names  of  zea,66  olyra,  and 
tiphe.67  In  Egypt,  they  make  a  fine  flour  from  wheat  of  their 
own  growth,  but  it  is  by  no  means  equal  to  that  of  Italy. 
Those  countries  which  employ  zea,  have  no  spelt.  Zea,  how- 
ever, is  to  be  found  in  Italy,  and  in  Campania  more  particularly, 
where  it  is  known  by  the  name  of  "  seed."68  The  grain  that 
bears  this  name  enjoys  a  very  considerable  celebrity,  as  we 
shall  have  occasion  to  state69  on  another  occasion  ;  and  it  is  in 
honour  of  this  that  Homer70  uses  the  expression,  fyldupos 
apovpa,  and  not,  as  some  suppose,  from  the  fact  of  the  earth 
giving  life.71  Amylum  is  made,  too,  from  this  grain,  but  of  a 

62  Nova  Carthago,  or  New  Carthage. 

63  This  fallacious  opinion  is  shared  with  Galen,  De  Facult.  Anim. 
B.  vi.  c.  11. 

64  Siligo.  65  Triticum. 

65  The  Triticum  dicoccum,  or  spelt. 

67  Probably  rye.     See  the  next  Chapter.  68  Semen. 

69  In  c.  20,  also  in  c.  29.     This  grain,  which  was  in  reality  a  kind  of 
spelt,  received  its  name  probably  from  having  been  the  first  cultivated. 

70  II.  ii.  c.  548 :  "the  land  that  produces  zea." 

71  Not  d-nb  TH  £rjv,  from  "  living." 

32  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 

coarser72  quality  than  the  kind  already  mentioned;73    this, 
however,  is  the  only  difference  that  is  perceptible.  ^ 

The  most  hardy  kind,  however,  of  all  the  grains  is  spelt,  and 
the  best  to  stand  the  severity  of  the  weather ;  it  will  grow  in 
the  very  coldest  places,  as  also  in  localities  that  are  but  half 
tilled,  or  soils  that  are  extremely  hot,  and  destitute  of  water. 
This  was  the  earliest  food  of  the  ancient  inhabitants  of  Latium ; 
a  strong  proof  of  which  is  the  distributions  of  adorea  that 
were  made  in  those  times,  as  already  stated.74  It  is  evident, 
too,  that  the  Romans  subsisted  for  a  long  time  upon  pottage,75 
and  not  bread ;  for  we  find  that  from  its  name  of  "  puls,"  cer- 
tain kinds  of  food  are  known,  even  at  the  present  day,  as  "  pul- 
mentaria."76  Ennius,  too,  the  most  ancient  of  our  poets,  in 
describing  the  famine  in  a  siege,  relates  how  that  the  parents 
snatched  away  the  messes  of  pottage77  from  their  weeping 
children.  At  the  present  day,  even,  the  sacrifices  in  eonformit}' 
with  the  ancient  rites,  as  well  as  those  offered  upon  birthdays, 
are  made  with  parched  pottage.78  This  food  appears  to  have 
been  as  much  unknown  in  those  days  in  Greece  as  polenta  was 
in  Italy. 


There  is  no  grain  that  displays  a  greater  avidity  than  wheat, 
and  none  that  absorbs  a  greater  quantity  of  nutriment.  "With 
all  propriety  I  may  justly  call  winter  wheat79  the  very  choicest 
of  all  the  varieties  of  wheat.  It  is  white,  destitute  of  all 
flavour,80  and  not  oppressive81  to  the  stomach.  It  suits  moist 

™  Merely,  as  Fee  says,  from  the  faulty  method  employed  in  its  prepa- 
ration, as  starch  has,  in  all  cases,  the  same  physical  appearance. 
»  In  c.  17  of  this  Book.  w  In  c.  3 'of  this  Book. 

'Puls,"  like  our  porridge. 

76  Any  food  that  was  originally  eaten  with  "puls,"  and  afterwards  with 
bread,  was  so  called,  such  as  meat,  vegetables,  &c. 

"  Offam."    This  word,  which  in  the  later  writers  signifies  a  "  cake  " 
originally  meant  a  hardened  lump  of  porridge. 

78  Pulte  fritilla. 

79  "  Siligo."   There  are  numerous  contradictions  in  Pliny  with  reference 
to  this  plant  but  it  is  now  pretty  generally  agreed  that  it  is  the  Triticum 
hibernum  of  Linnaeus:  the  "  froment  tousselle"  of  the  French      It  was 

jrmerly  the  more  general  opinion  that  it  was  identical  with  spelt  •  but 
that  cannot  be  the  case  as  spelt  is  red,  and  siligo  is  described  as  white. 
«  S-         Vd  d°Ubtful  What  is  the  meaninS  of  this 

Chap.  20.]  WINTER  WHEAT.  33 

localities  particularly  well,  such  as  we  find  in  Italy  and  Galliu 
Comata ;  but  beyond  the  Alps  it  is  found  to  maintain  its  cha- 
racter only  in  the  territory  of  the  Allobroges  and  that  of  the 
Memini ;  for  in  the  other  parts  of  those  countries  it  degene- 
rates at  the  end  of  two  years  into  common  wheat.82  The  only 
method  of  preventing  this  is  to  take  care  and  sow  the  heaviest 
grains  only. 

(9.)  Winter  wheat  furnishes  bread  of  the  very  finest  qualify 
'and  the  most  esteemed  delicacies  of  the  bakers.  The  b^ 
bread  that  is  known  in  Italy  is  made  from  a  mixture  of  Cam- 
j>auian  winter  wheat  with  that  of  Pisoe.  The  Campanian  kincf 
is  of  a  redder  colour,  while  the  latter  is  white ;  when  mixed 
with  chalk,83  it  is  increased  in  weight.  The  proper  proportion 
for  the  yield  of  Campanian  wheat  to  the  modius  of  grain  is 
four  sextarii  of  what  is  known  as  bolted  flour;84  but  when  it 
is  used  in  the  rough  and  has  not  been  bolted,  then  the  yield 
should  be  five  sextarii  of  flour.  In  addition  to  this,  in  either 
case  there  should  be  half  a  modius  of  white  meal,  with  four 
sextarii  of  coarse  meal,  known  as  "  seconds,"  and  the  same 
quantity  of  bran.85  The  Pisan  wheat  produces  five  sextarii  of 
line  flour  to  the  modius;  in  other  respects  it  yields  the  same 
as  that  of  Campania.  The  wheat  of  Clusium  and  Arretium 
gives  another  sextarius  of  fine  flour,  but  the  yield  is  similar  to 
that  of  the  kinds  already  mentioned  in  all  other  respects. 
If,  however,  as  much  of  it  as  possible  is  converted  into  fine 
wheat  meal,  the  modius  will  yield  sixteen  pounds  weight  of 
white  bread,  and  three  of  seconds,  with  half  a  modius  of  bran. 
These  differences,  however,  depend  very  materially  upon  the 
grinding ;  for  when  the  grain  is  ground  quite  dry  it  produces 
more  meal,  but  when  sprinkled  with  salt  water86  a  whiter 
flour,  though  at  the  same  time  a  greater  quantity  of  bran.  It 
is  very  evident  that  "  farina,"  the  name  we  give  to  meal,  is 
derived  from  "  far."  A  modius  of  meal  made  from  Gallic  winter 

82  In  other  places  he  says,  most  unaccountably,  that  wheat  "  degenerates 

83  As  to  this  practice,  see  c.  29. 

84  "  Quam  vocant  castratam." 

85  From  this  account,  it  would  appear  that  there  were  twenty-four  sex- 
tarii to  the  modius ;  but  the  account  in  general  is  very  contradictory. 

86  Salt  water  is  rarely  used  for  this  purpose  in  modern  times.     See 
this  passage  discussed  ia  Beckmann  on  Inventions,  Boh^ii^J^d.  vol.  i.  p. 
164.  ""^Nc 

VOL.    IV. 

V  * 

34  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 

wheat  yields  twenty-two  pounds  of  bread  ;  while  that  of  Italy, 
if  made  into  bread  baked  in  tins,87  will  yield  two  or  three 
pounds  more.  When  the  bread  is  baked  in  the  oven,88  two 
pounds  must  be  added  in  weight  in  either  case. 

(10.)  Wheat  yields  a  fine  flour89  of  the  very  highest  quality. 
In  African  wheat  the  modius  ought  to  yield  half  a  modius  of 
line  flour  and  five  sextarii  of  pollen,  that  being  the  name 
given  to  fine  wheat  meal,  in  the  same  way  that  that  of  winter 
wheat  is  generally  known  as  "  flos,"  or  the  "  flower."  This 
fine  meal  is  extensively  used  in  copper  works  and  paper  manu- 
factories. In  addition  to  the  above,  the  modius  should  yield 
four  sextarii  of  coarse  meal,  and  the  same  quantity  of  bran. 
The  finest  wheaten  flour  will  yield  one  hundred90  and  twenty- 
two  pounds  of  bread,  and  the  fine  meal  of  winter  wheat  one 
hundred90  and  seventeen,  to  the  modius  of  grain.  When  the 
prices  of  grain  are  moderate,  meal  sells  at  forty  asses  the  mo- 
dius, bolted  wheaten  flour  at  eight  asses  more,  and  bolted 
flour  of  winter  wheat,  at  sixteen  asses  more.  There  is  another 
distinction  again  in  fine  wheaten  flour,  which  originated  for- 
merly in  the  days  of  L.  Paulus.  There  were  three  classes  of 
wheat ;  the  first  of  which  would  appear  to  have  yielded  seven- 
iecii  pounds  of  bread,  the  second  eighteen,  and  the  third  nine- 
teen pounds  and  a  third  :  to  these  were  added  two  pounds  and 
a  Imlf  of  seconds,91  and  the  same  quantity  of  brown91  bread, 
with  six  sextarii  of  bran.92 

Winter  wheat  never  ripens  all  at  once,  and  yet  there  is  none 
of  the  cereals  that  can  so  ill  brook  any  delay ;  it  being  of  so 
delicate  a  nature,  that  the  ears  directly  they  are  ripe  will  begin 
to  shed  their  grain.  So  long,  however,  as  it  is  in  stalk,  it  is 
exposed  to  fewer  risks  than  other  kinds  of  wheat,  from  the  fact 

fe7  "  Artopticio."     See  c.  27  of  this  Book. 

;s  Without  tin,  probably ;  or  the  tin  bread  may  have  been  baked 
before  the  fire,  similar  to  the  method  adopted  at  the  present  day  with  the 
American  ovens. 

"  Similago."  Founders  still  use  meal  occasionally  for  making  moulds  • 
is  also  employed  in  making  paper. 

>  The  mention  of  "hundreds"  here  is  evidently  faulty,  unless  the  other 

part  ot   he  passage  is  corrupt.    Fee  suggests  twenty-two  and  twenty  seven. 

-m   above    we  find  him   stating  that  " secundaritis,"    "seconds" 

cibftrius,"  or  "coarse,"  meal,  are  the  same  thing.      His  con- 

tradictKUW  cannot  apparently  be  reconciled. 

'  this  passage,  as  Brotier  remarks,  is  evidently  corrupt. 

Chap.  21.]  WHEAT   Itf   AFRICA.  35 

of  its  always  having  the  ear  upright,  and  not  retaining  the 
dew,  which  is  a  prolific  cause  of  mildew. 

From  arinca93  a  bread  of  remarkable  sweetness  is  made. 
The  grains  in  this  variety  lie  closer  than  they  do  in  spelt ;  the 
ear,  too,  is  larger  and  more  weighty.  It  is  rarely  the  case 
that  a  modius  of  this  grain  does  not  weigh  full  sixteen  pounds. 
In  Greece  they  find  great  difficulty  in  threshing  it ;  and  hence 
it  is  that  we  find  Homer94  saying  that  it  is  given  to  beasts  of 
burden,  this  being  the  same  as  the  grain  that  he  calls  "  olyra." 
In  Egypt  it  is  threshed  without  any  difficulty,  and  is  remark- 
ably prolific.  Spelt  has  no  beard,  and  the  same  is  the  case 
with  winter  wheat,  except95  that  known  as  the  Laconian 
variety.  To  the  kinds  already  mentioned  we  have  to  add 
bromos,96  the  winter  wheat  just  excepted,  and  tragos,97  all  of 
them  exotics  introduced  from  the  East,  and  very  similar  to 
rice.  Tiphe98  also  belongs  to  the  same  class,  from  which  in 
our  part  of  the  world  a  cleaned  grain  resembling  rice  is  pre- 
pared. Among  the  Greeks,  too>  there  is  the  grain  known 
as  zea ;  and  it  is  said  that  this,  as  well  as  tiphe,  when  cleaned 
from  the  husk  and  sown,  will  degenerate99  and  assume  the 
form  of  wheat ;  not  immediately, .  but  in  the  course  of  three 


There  is  no  grain  more  prolific  than  wheat,  Nature  having 
bestowed  upon  it  this  quality,  as  being  the  substance  which  she 
destined  for  the  principal  nutriment  of  man.  A  modius  of 

93  Fee  has  no  doubt  that  this  was  siligo,  or  winter- wheat,  in  a  very 
high  state  of  cultivation. 
<"  II.  v.  1.  195. 

95  There  are  still  some  varieties  both  of  whiter-wheat  and  spelt  that 
have  the  beard. 

96  It  is  generally  thought  that  this  is  the  oat,  the  Avena  sativa  of  Lin- 
naeus, while  some  have  suggested  rice.     Fee  thinks  that  by  the  name, 
some  exotic  gramineous  plant  is  meant. 

97  Probably  a  variety  of  spelt,  as  Sprengel  conjectures,  from  Galen  and 
other  writers.     See  c.  1 6  of  this  Book. 

»«*  Fee  thinks  that  it  is  the  grain  of  the  Festuca  fluitans  of  Linnasus 
that  is  here  alluded  to,  and  identifies  it  with  the  "  ulva  palustris"  of  Virgil, 
Geor.  Hi.  174. 

99  The  Latin  word  "degener"  cannot  here  mean  "degenerate,  in  our 
sense  of  the  word,  but  must  merely  imply  a  change  of  nature  in  the  plant. 

D  2 


wheat,  if  the  soil  is  favourable,  as  at  Byzacium,1  a  champaign 
district  of  Africa,  will  yield  as  much  as  one  hundred  and  fifty2 
modii  of  grain.  The  procurator  of  the  late  Emperor  Augustus 
sent  him  from  that  place — a  fact  almost  beyond  belief — little 
short  of  four  hundred  shoots  all  springing  front  a  single  grain ; 
and  we  have  still  in  existence  his  letters  on  the  subject.  In 
a  similar  manner,  too,  the  procurator  of  'Nero  sent  him.  three 
hundred  and  sixty  stalks  all  issuing  from  a  single  grain.3  The 
plains  of  Leontium  in  Sicily,  and  other  places  in  that  island, 
as  well  as  the  whole  of  Bastica,  and  Egypt  more  particularly, 
yield  produce  a  hundred-fold.  The  most  prolific  kinds  of 
wheat  are  the  ramose  wheat,4  and  that  known  as  the  "  hun- 
dred-grain "5  wheat.  Before  now,  as  many  as  one  hundred 
beans,  too,  have  been  found  on  a  single  stalk. 


"We  have  spoken6  of  sesame,  millet,  and  panic  as  belonging 
to  the  summer  grains.  Sesame7  comes  from  India,  where  they 
extract  an  oil  from  it ;  the  colour  of  its  grain  is  white. 
Similar  in  appearance  to  this  is  the  erysimum  of  Asia  and 
Greece,  and  indeed  it  would  be  identical  with  it  were  it  not 
that  the  grain  is  better  filled.8  It  is  the  same  grain  that  is 
known  among  us  as  "  irio ;"  and  strictly  speaking,  ought  rather 
to  be  classed  among  the  medicaments  than  the  cereals.  Of  the 
same  nature,  too,  is  the  plant  called  "horminum"9  by  the 
Greeks,  though  resembling  cummin10  in  appearance;  it  is  sown 
at  the  same  time  as  sesame :  no  animal  will  eat  either  this  or 
irio  while  green. 


All  the  grains  are  not  easily  broken.     In  Etruria  they  first 

1  See  B.  xvii.  c.  3. 

™WeM?°WOv-n0  SUC1J  fruitfulness  ^  this  in  the  wheat  of  Europe 
StfSteSl1  "  S>  1S  theutmostamouilt  of  Produce  thatcanPbe" 

*inF-tem°  A  instafnn67f  16,?'  92>  and  63  stalks  Arising  from  a  single 
gram,  b        1  these  fall  far  short  of  the  marvels  here  mentioned  by 

or'S^r  °f  Linn*US''  <***»*  **™  originally 
n'T^vi    ,Probabl>T  the  sa^e  as  the  last. 
nC,uius0fthlSB°0k-  'Seec.10. 

10  Se?  B.  xix.  c.  47 ;  and  B.  xx.  c.  57.  y  mcntloned  in  c-  10- 

Chap.  23.]  THE   MODE   OF    GRINDING   COBN.  37 

parch  the  spelt  in  the  ear,  and  then  pound  it  with  a  pestle 
shod  with  iron  at  the  end.  In  this  instrument  the  iron  is 
notched11  at  the  hottom,  sharp  ridges  running  out  like  the 
edge  of  a  knife,  and  concentrating  in  the  form  of  a  star ;  so 
that  if  care  is  not  taken  to  hold  the  pestle  perpendicularly 
while  pounding,  the  grains  will  only  be  splintered  and  the  iron 
teeth  broken.  Throughout  the  greater  part  of  Italy,  however, 
they  employ  a  pestle  that  is  only  rough12  at  the  end,  and 
wheels  turned  by  water,  by  means  of  which  the  corn  is  gra- 
dually ground.  I  shall  here  set  forth  the  opinions  given  by 
Mago  as  to  the  best  method  of  pounding  corn.  He  says  that 
the  wheat  should  be  steeped  first  of  all  in  water,  and  then 
cleaned  from  the  husk ;  after  which  it  should  be  dried  in  the 
sun,  and  then  pounded  with  the  pestle  ;  the  same  plan,  he 
says,  should  be  adopted  in  the  preparation  of  barley.  In  the 
latter  case,  however,  twenty  sextarii  of  grain  require  only  two 
sextarii  of  water.  When  lentils  are  used,  they  should  be  first 
parched,  and  then  lightly  pounded  with  the  bran ;  or  else, 
adopting  another  method,  a  piece  of  unbaked  brick  and  half  a 
modius  of  sand13  should  be  added  to  every  twenty  sextarii  of 

Ervilia  should  be  treated  in  the  same  way  as  lentils.  ^  Sesame 
should  be  first  steeped  in  warm  water,  and  then  laid  out  to 
dry,  after  which  it  should  be  rubbed  out  briskly,  and  then 
thrown  into  cold  water,  so  that  the  chaff  may  be  disengaged 
by  floating  to  the  surface.  After  this  is  done,  the  grain  should 
again  be  spread  out  in  the  sun,  upon  linen  cloths,  to  dry.  Care, 
however,  should  be  taken  to  lose  no  time  in  doing  this,  as  it  is 
apt  to  turn  musty,  and  assume  a  dull,  livid  colour.  The  grains, 
too,  which  are  just  cleaned  from  the  husk,  require  various 
methods  of  pounding.  When  the  beard  is  ground  by  itself, 
without  the  grain,  the  result  is  known  as  "  acus,"14  but  it  is 
only  used  by  goldsmiths.15  If,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  beaten 

11  This  would  rather  grate  the  grain  than  pound  it,  as  Beckmann  ob- 
serves.    See  his  Hist.  Inv.,  vol.  i.  pp.  M7  and  164,  BohrisEd.,  where  the 
meaning  of  this  passage  has  been  commented  upon.     Gesner,  also,  in  his 
Lexicon  Rusticum,  has  endeavoured  to  explain  it. 

12  Ruido. 

13  It  is  surprising  to  find  the  Romans,  not  only  kneading  their  bread 
with  sea-water,  but  putting  in  it  pounded  bricks,  chalk,  and  sand  ! 

14  Beard  chaff;  so.  called,  probably,  from  the  sharpness  of  the  points, 
like  needles  (acus). 

15  See  B.  xxxiii.  c.  3  ;  where  he  says,  that  afire  lighted  with  this  chaff, 
fuses  gold  more  speedily  than  one  made  with  maple  wood. 


out  on  the  threshing-floor,  together  with  the  straw,  the  chaff 
has  the  name  of  "  palea,"  *  *  *  *  and  in  most  parts  of 
the  world  is  employed  as  fodder  for  beasts  of  burden.  The 
residue  of  millet,  panic,  and  sesame,  is  known  to  us  as 
"  apluda ;"  but  in  other  countries  it  is  called  by  various  other 

CHAP.  24. — MILLET. 

Campania  is  particularly  prolific  in  millet,  and  a  fine  white 
porridge  is  made  from  it :  it  makes  a  bread,  too,  of  remarkable 
sweetness.  The  nations  of  Sarmatia 16  live  principally  on  this 
porridge,  and  even  the  raw  meal,  with  the  sole  addition  of 
mares'  milk,  or  else  blood "  extracted  from  the  thigh  of  the 
horse.  The  ^Ethiopians  know  of  no  other  grain  but  millet  and 

CHAP.  25. — PANIC. 

The  people  of  Gaul,  and  of  Aquitania 18  more  particularly, 
make  use  of  panic ;  the  same  is  the  case,  too,  in  Italy  beyond 
the  Padus,  with  the  addition,  however,  of  the  bean,  without 
which  they  prepare  none  of  their  food.  There  is  no  aliment 
held  in  higher  esteem  than  panic  by  the  nations  of  Pontus. 
The  other  summer  grains  thrive  better  in  well- watered  soils 
than  in  rainy  localities ;  but  water  is  by  no  means  beneficial 
to  millet  or  panic  when  they  are  coming  into  blade.  It  is  re- 
commended not  to  sow  them  among  vines  or  fruit-trees,  as  it 
is  generally  thought  that  these  crops  impoverish  the  soil. 

CHAP.  26.  (11) — THE   VARIOUS   KINDS   OF   LEAVEN. 

Millet  is  more  particularly  employed  for  making  leaven ;  and 

if  kneaded  with  must,19  it  will  keep  a  whole  year.     The  same 

5  done,  too,  with  the  fine  wheat-bran  of  the  best  quality  •  it 

;s  kneaded  with  white  must  three  days  old,  and  then  dried  in 

sun,  after  which  it  is  made  into  small  cakes.     When  re- 

for  making  bread,  these  cakes  are  first  soaked  in  water, 

food  T  l\lar!unS  8ti?  ^P^f^.asone  of  their  principal  articles  of 

if  V    -?J  S"!  extract  a  kind  of  wine  from  it. 

is  p  Tg    *      es  to  this>  GeorS-  "i-  463. 
France*""  [  emPloyed  more  thai1  any  other  grain  in  the  south  of 

s  miut  have  tended  to  aff<*t  the  taste  of  the 

Chap.  27.]  THE   METHOD   OF   MAKING   BBEAD.  39 

and  then  boiled  with  the  finest  spelt  flour,  after  which  the  whole 
is  mixed  up  with  the  meal ;  and  it  is  generally  thought  that 
this  is  the  best  method  of  making  bread.  The  Greeks  have 
established  a  rule  that  for  a  modius  of  meal  eight  ounces  of 
leaven  is  enough. 

These  kinds  of  leaven,  however,  can  only  be  made  at  the 
time  of  vintage,  but  there  is  another  leaven  which  may  be  pre- 
pared with  barley  and  water,  at  any  time  it  may  happen  to  be 
required.  It  is  first  made  up  into  cakes  of  two  pounds  in 
weight,  and  these  are  then  baked  upon  a  hot  hearth,  or  else  in 
an  earthen  dish  upon  hot  ashes  and  charcoal,  being  left  till 
they  turn  of  a  reddish  brown.  When  this  is  done,  the  cakes 
are  shut  close  in  vessels,  until  they  turn  quite  sour :  when 
wanted  for  leaven,  they  are  steeped  in  water  first.  When 
barley  bread  used  to  be  made,  it  was  leavened  with  the  meal 
of  the  fitch,20  or  else  the  chicheling  vetch,21  the  proportion 
being,  two  pounds  of  leaven  to  two  modii  and  a  half  of  barley 
meal.  At  the  present  day,  however,  the  leaven  is  prepared 
from  the  meal  that  is  used  for  making  the  bread.  For  this 
purpose,  some  of  the  meal  is  kneaded  before  adding  the  salt, 
and  is  then  boiled  to  the  consistency  of  porridge,  and  left  till 
it  begins  to  turn  sour.  In  most  cases,  however,  they  do  not 
warm  it  at  all,  but  only  make  use  of  a  little  of  the  dough  that 
has  been  kept  from  the  day  before.  It  is  very  evident  that  the 
principle  which  causes  the  dough  to  rise  is  of  an  acid  nature, 
and  it  is  equally  evident  that  those  persons  who  are  dieted 
upon  fermented  bread  are  stronger 22  in  body.  Among  the 
ancients,  too,  it  was  generally  thought  that  the  heavier  wheat 
is,  the  more  wholesome  it  is. 


/  It  seems  to  me  quite  unnecessary  to  enter  into  an  account 
of  the  various  kinds  of  bread  that  are  made.  Some  kinds,  we 
find,  receive  their  names  from  the  dishes  with  which  they  are 
eaten,  the  oyster-bread,23  for  instance:  others,  again,  from 
their  peculiar  delicacy,  the  artolaganus,24  or  cake-bread,  for 
xample ;  and  others  from  the  expedition  with  which  they  are 

20  Ervum.  21  "  Cicercula."     See  B.  xxii.  c.  72. 
This  remark  is  founded  upon  just  notions. 

23  Ostrearius. 

21  From  aprof,  and  Xayavoi/,  bread  and  cake. 


prepared,  such  as  the  "  speusticus,"25  or  "  hurry-bread."  Other 
varieties  receive  their  names  from  the  peculiar  method  of 
baking  them,  such  as  oven-bread,26  tin-bread,27  and  mould- 
bread.28  It  is  not  so  very  long  since  that  we  had  a  bread  in- 
troduced from  Parthia,  known  as  water-bread,29  from  a  method 
in  kneading  it,  of  drawing  out  the  dough  by  the  aid  of  water, 
a  process  which  renders  it  remarkably  light,  and  full  of  holes, 
like  a  sponge  :  some  call  this  Parthian  bread.  The  excellence 
of  the  finest  kinds  of  bread  depends  principally  on  the  goodness 
of  the  wheat,  and  the  fineness  of  the  bolter.  Some  persons 
knead  the  dough  with  eggs  or  milk,  and  butter  even  has  been 
employed  for  the  purpose  by  nations  that  have  had  leisure  to 
cultivate  the  arts  of  peace,  and  to  give  their  attention  to  the 
art  of  making  pastry.  Picenum  still  maintains  its  ancient 
reputation  for  making  the  bread  which  it  was  the  first  to  in- 
vent, alica 30  being  the  grain  employed.  The  flour  is  kept  in 
soak  for  nine  days,  and  is  kneaded  on  the  tenth  with  raisin 
juice,  in  the  shape  of  long  rolls ;  after  which  it  is  baked  in  an 
oven  in  earthen  pots,  till  they  break.  This  bread,  however,  is 
never  eaten  till  it  has  been  well31  soaked,  which  is  mostly  done 
\  in  milk  mixed  with  honey. 


There  were  no  bakers  at  Eome  until32  the  war  with  King 
Perseus,  more  than  five  hundred  and  eighty  years  after  the 
building  of  the  City.  The  ancient  llomans  used  to  make  their 
own  bread,  it  being  an  occupation  which  belonged  to  the  wo- 
men, as  we  see  the  case  in  many  nations  even  at  the  present 
day.  Plautus  speaks  of  the  artopta,  or  bread-tin,  in  his 
Comedy  of  the  Aulularia,33  though  there  has  been  considerable 
ision  lor  that  very  reason  among  the  learned,  whether  or 
From  <T7T£^u>,  to  hasten.  A  sort  of  crumpet,  probably 
2!  «  nrlaCeP'  2?  Artopticeus. 

WaS  a  P°rtable  oven  «  ™*l  Broader  at 

See  cc'  10  and  29  of  MB  Book. 

our  rusks- 

It  VthourfAl'  «'     " g°  ^inc  art°Ptam  ex  proxumo  utendam  peto  " 

Chap.  29.  ALICA.       /  41 

not  that  line  really  belongs  to 
well  ascertained,  in  the  opinion  of  Ateius  Capito,  that  the 
cooks  in  those  days  were  in  the  habit  of  making  the  bread  for 
persons  of  affluence,  while  the  name  of  "  pistor  "3<1  was  only 
given  to  the  person  who  pounded,  or  "  pisebat,"  the  spelt.  In 
those  times,  they  had  no  cooks  in  the  number  of  their  slaves, 
but  used  to  hire  them  for  the  occasion  from  the  market.  The 
Gauls  were  the  first  to  employ  the  bolter  that  is  made  of 
horse-hair ;  while  the  people  of  Spain  make  their  sieves  and 
meal- dressers  of  flax,35 'and  the  Egyptians  of  papyrus  and 

CHAP.    29. — ALICA. 

But  among  the  very  first  things  of  all,  we  ought  to  speak  of 
the  method  employed  in  preparing  alica,36  a  most  delightful 
and  most  wholesome  food,  and  which  incontestably  confers 
upon  Italy  the  highest  rank  among  the  countries  that  produce 
the  cereals.  This  delicacy  is  prepared,  no  doubt,  in  Egypt 
as  well,  but  of  a  very  inferior  quality,  and  not  worth  our  no- 
tice. In  Italy,  however,  it  is  prepared  in  numerous  places, 
the  territories  of  Verona  and  Pisae,  for  example  ;  but  that  of 
Campania  is  the  most  highly  esteemed.  There,  at  the  foot  of 
mountains  capped  with  clouds,  runs  a  plain,  not  less  in  all  than 
forty  miles  in.extent.  The  land  here — to  give  a  description 
first  of  the  nature  of  the  soil — is  dusty  on  the  surface,  but 
spongy  below,  and  as  porous  as  pumice.  The  inconveniences 
that  generally  arise  from  the  close  vicinity  of  mountains  are 
here  converted  into  so  many  advantages  :  for  the  soil,  acting 
on  it  as  a  sort  of  filter,  absorbs  the  water  of  the  abundant 
rains  that  fall ;  the  consequence  of  which  is,  that  the  water  not 
being  left  to  soak  or  form  mud  on  the  surface,  the  cultivation 
is  greatly  facilitated  thereby.  This  land  does  not  return,  by 
the  aid  of  any  springs,  the  moisture  it  has  thus  absorbed,  but 
thoroughly  digests  it,  by  warming  it  in  its  bosom,  in  a  heated 
oven  as  it  were.  The  ground  is  kept  cropped  the  whole  year 
through,  once  with  panic,  and  twice  with  spelt ;  and  yet  in  the 
spring,  when  the  soil  is  allowed  to  have  a  moment's  repose, 

34  Which  in  Pliny's  time  signified  "  baker." 

35  The  Stipa  tenacissima  of  Linnaeus,  Fee  says ;  or  else  the  Lygeum 
Bpartum  of  Linnasus. 

36  As  to  the  cereal  so  called,  see  c.  10  of  this  Book. 

42  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XVIII. 

it  will  produce  roses  more  odoriferous  by  far  than  the  cultivated 
rose :  for  the  earth  here  is  never  tired  of  producing,  a  circum- 
stance in  which  originated  the  common  saying,  that  Campania 
produces  more  unguents 37  than  other  countries  do  oil. 

In  the  same  degree,  however,  that  the  Campanian  soil  excels 
that  of  all  other  countries,  so  does  that  part  of  it  which  is 
known  to  us  as  Laboria3,38  and  to  the  Greeks  as  Phlegrseum, 
surpass  all  the  rest.  This  district  is  bounded  on  two  sides  by 
the  consular  high  road,  which  leads  from  Puteoli  to  Capua  on 
the  one  side,  and  from  Cumae  on  the  other. 

Alica  is  prepared  from  the  grain  called  zea,  which  we  have 
already  mentioned39  as  being  known  to  us  as  "  seed"  wheat. 
The  grain  is  cleansed  in  a  wooden  mortar,  for  fear  lest  stone, 
from  its  hardness,  should  have  the  effect  of  grating  it.  The 
motive  power  for  raising  the  pestle,  as  is  generally  known,  is 
supplied  by  slaves  working  in  chains,  the  end  of  it  being  en- 
closed in  a  case  of  iron.  After  the  husks  have  been  removed 
by  this  process,  the  pure  grain  is  broken  to  pieces,  the  same 
implements  being  employed.  In  this  way,  there  are  three 
different  kinds  of  alica  made,  the  finest,  the  seconds,  and  the 
coarse,  which  last  is  known  as  "  aphaerema."40  Still,  however, 
these  various  kinds  have  none  of  them  that  whiteness  as  yet 
for  which  they  are  so  distinguished,  though  even  now  they  are 
preferable  to  the  Alexandrian  alica.  With  this^view — a  most 
singular  fact—chalk 41  is  mixed  with  the  meal,  which,  upon 
becoming  well  incorporated  with  it,  adds  very  materially  to 
both  the  whiteness  and  the  shortness42  of  the  mixture.  This 
chalk  is  found  between  Puteoli  and  Neapolis,  upon  a  hill  called 
Leucogaeum  ;43  and  there  is  still  in  existence  a  decree  of  the 
late  Emperor  Augustus,  (who  established  a  colony  at  Capua), 
which  orders  a  sum  of  twenty  thousand  sesterces  to  be  paid 
annually  from  his  exchequer  to  the  people  of  Neapolis,  for  the 
lease  of  this  hill.  His  motive  for  paying  this  rent,  he  stated, 
was  the  fact  that  the  people  of  Campania  had  alleged  that  it 
37  Or  perfumed  oils. 

18  See  B.  iii.  c.  9.    A  volcanic  district. 

»  In  c.  20  of  this  Book. 
40  Grain  from  which  the  husk  is  removed 

*«itSl*3£!?'  UiS  6ti"  ^fctho*  P*^  of  Campa- 

12  Teneritatem. 

13  From  the  Greek,  meaning  "  white  earth." 

Chap.  30.] 


was  impossible  to  make  their  alica  without  the  help  of  this 
mineral.  In  the  same  hill,  sulphur  is  found  as  well,  and  the 
springs  of  Araxus  issue  from  its  declivities,  the  waters  of  which 
are  particularly  efficacious  for  strengthening  the  sight,  healing 
wounds,  and  preventing  the  teeth  from  becoming  loose. 

A  spurious  kind  of  alica  is  made,  more  particularly  of  a  de- 
generate kind  of  zea  grown  in  Africa  ;  the  ears  of  it  are  larger 
and  blacker  than  those  of  the  genuine  kind,  and  the  straw  is 
short.  This  grain  is  pounded  with  sand,  and  even  then  it  is 
with  the  greatest  difficulty  that  the  outer  coats  are  removed  ; 
when  stripped,  the  grain  fills  one  half  only  of  the  original 
measure.  Gypsum,  in  the  proportion  of  one  fourth,  is  then 
sprinkled44  over  it,  and  after  the  mixture  has  been  well  incor- 
porated, it  is  bolted  through  a  meal-sieve.  The  portion  that 
remains  behind,  after  this  is  done,  is  known  as  "  excepticia,"4* 
and  consists  of  the  coarser  parts  ;  while  that  which  has  passed 
through  is  submitted  to  a  second  process,  with  a  finer  sieve  ; 
and  that  which  then  refuses  to  pass  has  the  name  ^of  "  secun- 
daria."46  That,  again,  which,  in  a  similar  manner,  is  submitted 
to  a  third  sifting,  with  a  sieve  of  the  greatest  fineness,  which 
will  only  admit  of  sand  passing  through  it,  is  known  as  "  cri- 
braria,"47  when  it  remains  on  the  top  of  the  sieve. 

There  is  another  method,  again,  that  is  employed  every 
where  for  adulterating  it.  They  pick  out  the  whitest  and 
largest  grains  of  wheat,  and  parboil  them  in  earthen  pots  ;  these 
are  then  dried  in  the  sun  till  they  have  regained  their  original 
size,  after  which  they  are  lightly  sprinkled  with  water,  and 
then  ground  in  a  mill.  A  better  granaeum  48  is  made  from  zea 
than  from  wheat,  although  it  is  nothing  else,  in  fact,  but  a 
spurious  alica  :  it  is  whitened  by  the  addition  of  boiled  milk, 
in  place  of  chalk. 

CHAP.  30.  (12.)  —  THE  LEGUMINOUS  PLANTS  :  THE  BEAN. 

We  now  come  to  the  history  of  the  leguminous  plants, 
among  which  the  place  of  honour  must  be  awarded  to  the 

44  F6e  enquires,  and  with  good  reason,  how  the  ^  African  mixture  ac- 
commodated itself  to  the  stomachs  of  those  who  ate  it. 
«  Residue.  4G  Seconds. 

47  Sieve  flour. 

A  porridge  or  pap,  made  of  ground  grain.     It  is  mentioned  hy 


A  por 
,  c.  86. 

44  PLIOT'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 

bean  ;49  indeed,  some  attempts  have  even  been  made  to  use  it 
for  bread.  Bean  meal  is  known  as  "lomentum;"  and,  as  is 
the  case  with  the  meal  of  all  leguminous  plants,  it  adds  con- 
siderably, when  mixed  with  flour,  to  the  weight  of  the  bread. 
Beans  are  on  sale  at  the  present  day  for  numerous  purposes, 
and  are  employed  for  feeding  cattle,  and  man  more  particu- 
larly. They  are  mixed,  also,  among  most  nations,  with 
wheat,50  and  panic  more  particularly,  either  whole  or  lightly 
broken.  In  our  ancient  ceremonials,  too,  bean  pottage51  occu- 
pies its  place  in  the  religious  services  of  the  gods.  Beans  are 
mostly  eaten  together  with  other  food,  but  it  is  generally 
thought  that  they  dull  the  senses,  and  cause  sleepless  nights 
attended  with  dreams.  Hence  it  is  that  the  bean  has  been 
condemned52  by  Pythagoras  ;  though,  according  to  some,  the 
reason  for  this  denunciation  was  the  belief  which  he  enter- 
tained that  the  souls  of  the  dead  are  enclosed  in  the  bean  :  it 
is  for  this  reason,  too,  that  beans  are  used  in  the  funereal  ban- 
quets of  the  Parentalia.53  According  to  Varro,  it  is  for  a 
similar  cause  that  the  Flamen  abstains  from  eating  beans  :  in 
addition  to  which,  on  the  blossom  of  the  bean,  there  are  cer- 
tain letters  of  ill  omen  to  be  found. 

There  are  some  peculiar  religious  usages  connected  with  the 
bean.  It  is  the  custom  to  bring  home  from  the  harvest  a  bean 
by  way  of  auspice,  which,  from  that  circumstance,  has  the 
name  of  "referiva."54  In  sales  by  public  auction,  too,  it  is 
thought  lucky  to  include  a  bean  in  the  lot  for  sale.  It  is  a 
fact,  too,  that  the  bean  is  the  only  one  among  all  the  grains 
that  fills  out  at  the  increase  of  the  moon,55  however  much  it 
may  have  been  eaten  away  :  it  can  never  be  thoroughly  boiled 
in  sea-water,  or  indeed  any  other  water  that  is  salt. 

<9  The  Faba  vulgaris  of  the  modern  naturalists.  It  is  supposed  to  have 
originally  come  from  Persia. 

that  thlS  mixture  k  sti11  employed  in  the  Valais  and  in 
51  Fabata. 

in  place  of  balls 

meant  to  advise  them  to  have 

f  decmed  relations' 

ere-d  »P>  to  ensure  good  luck. 
B.  n.  c.  33,  repeats  this  absurdity. 

Chap.  30.]  THE  BEAK.  45 

The  bean  is  the  first  leguminous  plant  that  is  sown  ;  that 
being  done  before  the  setting  of  the  YergilisB,  in  order  that  it 
may  pass  the  winter  in  the  ground.  Virgil56  recommends  that 
it  should  be  sown  in  spring,  according  to  the  usage  of  the  parts 
of  Italy  near  the  Padus :  but  most  people  prefer  the  bean  that 
has  been  sown  early  to  that  of  only  three  months'  growth ; 
for,  in  the  former  case,  the  pods  as  well  as  the  stalk  afford  a 
most  agreeable  fodder  for  cattle.  When  in  blossom  more  par- 
ticularly, the  bean  requires  water ;  but  after  the  blossom  has 
passed  off,  it  stands  in  need  of  but  very  little.  It  fertilizes87 
the  ground  in  which  it  has  been  sown  as  well  as  any  manure ; 
hence  it  is  that  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Thessaly  and  Ma- 
cedonia, as  soon  as  it  begins  to  blossom,  they  turn  up58  the 

The  bean,  too,  grows  wild  in  most  countries,  as  in  those 
islands  of  the  Northern  Ocean,  for  instance,  which  for  that 
reason  have  been  called  by  us  the  "  Fabarise."59  In  Mauritania, 
also,  it  is  found  in  a  wild  state  in  various  parts,  but  so  remark- 
ably hard  that  it  will  never  become  soft  by  boiling. 

In  Egypt  there  is  a  kind  of  bean60  which  grows  upon  a 
thorny  stalk ;  for  which  reason  the  crocodiles  avoid  it,  being 
apprehensive  of  danger  to  their  eyes.  This  stalk  is  four 
cubits  in  length,  and  its  thickness,  at  the  very  most,  that  of 
the  finger  :  were  it  not  for  the  absence  of  articulations  in  it, 
it  would  resemble  a  soft  reed  in  appearance.  The  head  is 
similar  to  that  of  the  poppy,  being  of  a  rose  colour  :  the  beans 
enclosed  in  this  head  are  not  above  thirty  in  number ;  the 
leaves  are  large,  and  the  fruit  is  bitter  and  odoriferous.  The 
root,  however,  is  highly  esteemed  by  the  natives  as  a  food, 
whether  eaten  raw  or  well  boiled ;  it  bears  a  strong  resem- 
blance to  that  of  the  reed.  This  plant  grows  also  in  Syria 
and  Cilicia,  and  upon  the  banks  of  Lake  Torone  in  Chalcidice. 

56  Georg.  i.  215. 

57  This  notion  still  prevails,  and  the  bean,  while  in  blossom,  is  dug  into 
the  ground  to  manure  it,  both  in  England  and  France. 

68  It  does  not  appear,  however,  that  this  was  done  with  the  view  of 
digging  in  the  beans. 

™  Or  Bean  Islands.     See  B.  iv.  c.  27. 

60  The  Nymphaea  nclumbo  of  Linnaeus  is  alluded  to,  but  it  is  no  longer 
to  be  found  in  Egypt.  Pliny  is  supposed  to  derive  this  from  Theophrastus, 
Hist.  Plant.  B.  iv.  c.  10,  but  his  translation  is  not  exactly  correct. 

46  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XVIII. 

CHAP.  31. — LENTILS.       PEASE. 

Among  the  leguminous  plants  the  lentil  is  sown  in  the 
month  of  November,  and  the  pea,61  among  the  Greeks.  The 
lentil  thrives  best  in  a  soil  that  is  rather  thin  than  rich,  and 
mostly  stands  in  need  of  dry  weather.  There  are  two  kinds 
of  lentil  grown  in  Egypt ;  one  of  which  is  rounder  and  blacker 
than  the  other,  which  has  a  peculiar  shape  of  its  own.  The 
name  of  this  plant  has  been  applied  to  various  uses,  and 
among  others  has  given  origin  to  our  word  "  lenticula." 62  I 
find  it  stated  in  some  authors  that  a  lentil  diet  is  productive  of 
evenness  of  temper.  The  pea  requires  to  be  sown  in  a  warm, 
sunny  spot,  and  is  ill  able  to  endure  cold  ;  hence  in  Italy  and 
the  more  rigorous  climates,  it  is  sown  in  the  spring  only,  a  light, 
loose  soil  being  chosen  for  the  purpose. 


The  chick-pea63  is  naturally  salt,64  for  which  reason  it  is  apt 
to  scorch  the  ground,  and  should  only  be  sown  after  it  has 
been  steeped  a  day  in  water.  This  plant  presents  consider- 
able differences  in  reference  to  size,  colour,65  form,  and  taste. 
One  variety  resembles  in  shape  a  ram's  head,  from  which  cir- 
cumstance it  has  received  the  name  of  "  arietinum ;"  there 
are  both  the  white  and  the  black  arietinum.  There  is  also  the 
columbine  chick-pea,  by  some  known  as  the  "pea  of  Venus ;" 
it  is  white,  round,  and  smooth,  being  smaller  than  the  arie- 
tinum, and  is  employed  in  the  observances  of  the  night  festivals 
or  vigils.  The  chicheling  vetch,66  too,  is  a  diminutive  kind  of 
chick-pea,  unequal  and  angular,  like67  the  pea.  The  chick- 
pea that  is  the  sweetest  in  flavour  is  the  one  that  bears  the 
closest  resemblance  to  the  fitch ;  the  pod  in  the  black  and  the 
red  kinds  is  more  firmly  closed  than  in  the  white  ones. 

61  Pisum  sativum  of  Linnseus. 
2  Meaning  a  wart  or  pirnple  on  the  face. 

63  Cicer  arietinum  of  the  botanists. 

64  "  Gigni  cum  salsilagine."     It  abounds  in  India,  and  while  blossom- 
ing, it  distils  a  corrosive  acid,  which  corrodes  the  shoes  of  those  who  tread 
upon  it. 

65  There  are  still  the  red  and  ttie  white  kinds,  the  large  and  the  small. 
63  Cicercula :  the  Lathyrus  sativus  of  Linnaeus.     It  is  difficult  to  cook, 

and  hard  of  digestion.     See  c.  26. 

67  This  must  be  suid  in  reference  to  some  of  the  pease  when  in  a  dried 

Chap.  34.]  THE  EAPE.  47 


The  pod  of  the  chick-pea  is  rounded,  while  in  other  legu- 
minous plants  it  is  long  and  broad,  like  the  seed  which  it 
contains ;  in  the  pea,  again,  it  is  of  a  cylindrical  form.  In 
the  case  of  the  kidney-bean68  it  is  usual  to  eat  the  pod  together 
with  the  seed.  This  last  may  be  sown  in  all  kinds  of  soils 
indifferently,  between  the  ides  of  October69  and  the  calends  of 
November.70  As  soon  as  ever  the  leguminous  plants  begin  to 
ripen,  they  ought  to  be  plucked,  for  the  pods  will  very  soon 
open  and  the  seed  fall  out,  in  which  case  it  is  very  difficult  to 
find  :  the  same  is  the  case,  too,  with  the  lupine.  But  before 
we  pass  on  to  the  lupine,  it  will  be  as  well  to  make  some  men- 
tion of  the  rape.71 

CHAP.  34.  (13.) — THE  EAPE. 

The  Latin  writers  have  only  treated  of  this  plant  in  a  cur- 
sory manner,  while  those  of  Greece  have  considered  it  a  little  • 
more  attentively ;  though  even  they  have  ranked  it  among  the 
garden  plants.  If,  however,  a  methodical  arrangement  is  to 
be  strictly  observed,  it  should  be  spoken  of  immediately  after 
corn,  or  the  bean,  at  all  events ;  for  next  to  these  two  produc- 
tions, there  is  no  plant  that  is  of  more  extensive  use.  For,  in 
the  first  place,  all  animals  will  feed  upon  it  as  it  grows ;  and 
it  is  far  from  being  the  least  nutritious  plant  in  the  fields  for 
various  kinds  of  birds,  when  boiled  in  water  more  particularly. 
Cattle,  too,  are  remarkably  fond  of  the  leaves  of  rape ;  and 
the  stalks  and  leaves,  when  in  season,  are  no  less  esteemed 
as  a  food  for  man  than  the  sprouts  of  the  cabbage  ;71  these, 
too,  when  turned  yellow  and  left  to  die  in  the  barn,  are  even 
more  highly  esteemed  than72  when  green.  As  to  the  rape 
itself,  it  will  keep  all  the  better  if  left  in  its  mould,  after  which 
it  should  be  dried  in  the  open  air  till  the  next  crop  is  nearly 
ripe,  as  a  resource  in  case  of  scarcity.  Next  to  those  of  the 

68  A  variety  of  the  Phaseolus  vulgaris  of  Linnaeus :  the  "  haricot "  of 
the  French.     The  French  bean  and  the  scarlet-runner  are  cooked  in  a 
similar  manner  among  us. 

69  15th  of  October.  70  1st  of  November. 

71  The  Kapo-brassica  of  Linnaeus.      The    turnip  cabbage,  or  rape- 

72  This  taste,  it  is  most  probable,  is  nowhere  in  existence  at  the  present 

48  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XVIII. 

grape  and  corn,  this  is  the  most  profitable  harvest  of  all  for  the 
countries  that  lie  beyond  the  Padus.  The  rape  is  by  no  means 
difficult  to  please  in  soil,  for  it  will  grow  almost  anywhere, 
indeed  where  nothing  else  can  be  sown.  It  readily  derives 
nutriment  from  fogs  and  hoar-frosts,  and  grows  to  a  marvel- 
lous size  ;  I  have  seen  them  weighing  upwards  of  forty  pounds.73 
It  is  prepared  for  table  among  us  in  several  ways,  and  is  made 
to  keep  till  the  next  crop,  its  fermentation74  being  prevented  by 
preserving  it  in  mustard.  It  is  also  tinted  with  no  less  than 
six  colours  in  addition  to  its  own,  and  with  purple  even ;  in- 
deed, that  which  is  used  by  us  as  food  ought  to  be  of  no  other 

The  Greeks  have  distinguished  two  principal  species  of  rape, 
the  male  and  the  female,76  and  have  discovered  a  method  of  ob- 
taining them  both  from  the  same  seed ;  for  when  it  is  sown  thick, 
or  in  a  hard,  cloggy  soil,  the  produce  will  be  male.  The  smaller 
the  seed  the  better  it  is  in  quality.  There  are  three  kinds  of 
rape  in  all ;  the  first  is  broad  and  flat,  the  second  of  a  spherical 
shape,  and  the  third,  to  which  the  name  of  "  wild"  rape  77 
has  been  given,  throws  out  a  long  root,  similar  in  appearance 
to  a  radish,  with  an  angular,  rough  leaf,  and  an  acrid  juice, 
which,  if  extracted  about  harvest,  and  mixed  with  a  woman's 
milk,  is  good  for  cleansing  the  eyes  and  improving  defective 
sight.  The  colder  the  weather  the  sweeter  they  are,  and  the 
larger,  it  is  generally  thought ;  heat  makes  them  run  to  leaf. 
The  finest  rape  of  all  is  that  grown  in  the  district  of  Kursia  : 
it  is  valued  at  as  much  as  one  sesterce78  per  pound,  and,  in 
times  of  scarcity,  two  even.  That  of  the  next  best  quality  is 
produced  on  Mount  Algidus. 


The  turnip78*  of  Amiternum,  which  is  pretty  nearly  of  the 

73  This  is  not  by  any  means  an  exaggeration. 

74  Acrimonia. 

75  These  coloured  varieties,  Fee  says,  belong  rather  to  the  Brassica 
oleracea,  than  to  the  Brassica  rapa.     It  is  not  improbable,  from  the  struc- 
ture of  this  passage,  that  Pliny  means  to  say  that  the  colours  are  artifici- 
ally produced. 

'6  In  reality,  belonging  to  the  Crucifera,  the  rape  is  hermaphroditical. 

77  Wild  horse-radish,  which  is  divided  into  two  varieties,  the  Rapha- 
nus  raphanistrum  of  Linnaeus,  and  the  Cochlearia  Armoracia,  may  possibly 
be  meant,  but  their  roots  bear  no  resemblance  to  the  radish. 

78  An  enormous  price,  apparently. 
78*  The  Brassica  napus  of  Linnaeus. 

Chap.  36.]  THE   LUPINE.  49 

same  nature  as  the  rape,  thrives  equally  well  in  a  cold  soil. 
It  is  sown  just  before  the  calends  of  March,79  four  sextarii  of 
seed  to  the  jugerum.  The  more  careful  growers  recommend 
that  the  ground  should  be  turned  up  five  times  before  putting 
in  the  turnip,  and  four  for  rape,  care  being  taken,  in  both 
cases,  to  manure  it  well.  Eape,  they  say,  will  thrive  all  the 
better,  if  it  is  sown  together  with  some  chaff.  They  will 
have  it,  too,  that  the  sower  ought  to  be  stripped,  and  that  he 
should  offer  up  a  prayer  while  sowing,  and  say  :  "I  sow  this 
for  myself  and  for  my  neighbours."  The  proper  time  for  sow- 
ing both  kinds  is  the  period  that  intervenes  between  the  festi- 
vals80 of  the  two  divinities,  Neptune  and  Yulcan.  It  is  said, 
too — and  it  is  the  result  of  very  careful  observation — that 
these  plants  will  thrive  wonderfully  well,  if  they  are  sown  as 
many  days  after  the  festival  of  Neptune  as  the  moon  was  old 
when  the  first  snow  fell  the  previous  winter.  They  are  sown 
in  spring  as  well,  in  warm  and  humid  localities. 

CHAP.  36.  (14.) — THE  LUPINE. 

The  lupine  is  the  next  among  the  leguminous  plants  that 
is  in  extensive  use,  as  it  serves  for  food  for  man  in  common 
with  the  hoofed  quadrupeds.  To  prevent  it  from  springing 
out  of  the  pod81  while  being  gathered,  and  so  lost,  the  best 
plan  is  to  gather  it  immediately  after  a  shower.  Of  all  the 
seeds  that  are  sown,  there  is  not  one  of  a  more  marvellous  na- 
ture than  this,  or  more  favoured  by  the  earth.  First  of  all, 
it  turns  every  day  with  the  sun,82  and  shows  the  hour  to  the 
husbandman,  even  though  the  weather  should  happen  to  be 
cloudy  and  overcast.  It  blossoms,  too,  no  less  than  three 
times,  and  so  attached  is  it  to  the  earth,  that  it  does  not  re- 
quire to  be  covered  with  the  soil ;  indeed,  this  is  the  only  seed 
that  does  not  require  the  earth  to  be  turned  up  for  sowing  it. 
It  thrives  more  particularly  on  a  sandy,  dry,  and  even  gravelly 
soil ;  and  requires  n»  further  care  to  be  taken  in  its  cultiva- 
tion. To  such  a  degree  is  it  attached  to  the  earth,  that  even 

79  1st  of  March. 

80  The  Neptunalia  and  the  Vulcanalia;    23rd  of  July  and  23rd  of 

81  In  consequence  of  the  brittleness  of  the  pod. 

?2  This  is  an  exaggeration  of  certain  phenomena  observed  in  the  leaves 
of  all  leguminous  plants. 

TOL.   IT.  JB 

50  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 

though  left  upon  a  soil  thickly  covered  with  brambles,  it  will 
throw  out  a  root  amid  the  leaves  and  brakes,  and  so  con- 
trive  to  reach  the  ground.  We  have  already  stated83  that  the 
soil  of  a  field  or  vineyard  is  enriched  by  the  growth  of  a 
crop  of  lupines ;  indeed,  so  far  is  it  from  standing  in  need  of 
manure,  that  the  lupines  will  act  upon  it  as  well  as  the  very 
best.  It  is  the  only  seed  that  requires  no  outlay  at  all,  so 
much  so,  in  fact,  that  there  is  no  necessity  to  carry  it  even  to  the 
spot  where  it  is  sown ;  for  it  may  be  sown  the  moment  it  is 
brought  from  the  threshing-floor  :84  and  from  the  fact  that  it 
falls  from  the  pod  of  its  own  accord,  it  stands  in  need  of  no 
one  to  scatter  it. 

This  is85  the  very  first  grain  sown  and  the  last  that  is  gathered, 
both  operations  generally  taking  place  in  the  month  of  Sep- 
tember ;  indeed,  if  this  is  not  done  before  winter  sets  in,  it  is 
liable  to  receive  injury  from  the  cold.  And  then,  besides,  it 
may  even  be  left  with  impunity  to  lie  upon  the  ground,  in  case 
showers  should  not  immediately  ensue  and  cover  it  in,  it  being 
quite  safe  from  the  attacks  of  all  animals,  on  account  of  its 
bitter  taste :  still,  however,  it  is  mostly  covered  up  in  a  slight 
furrow.  Among  the  thicker  soils,  it  is  attached  to  a  red  earth 
more  particularly.  In  order  to  enrich86  this  earth,  it  should  be 
turned  up  just  after  the  third  blossom  ;  but  where  the  soil  is 
sandy,  after  the  second.  Chalky  and  slimy  soils  are  the  only 
ones  that  it  has  an  aversion  to ;  indeed,  it  will  never  come  to 
anything  when  sown  in  them.  Soaked  in  warm  water,  it  is 
used  as  a  food,  too,  for  man.  One  modius  is  a  sufficient  meal 
for  an  ox,  and  it  is  found  to  impart  considerable  vigour  to 
cattle ;  placed,  too,  upon  the  abdomen87  of  children,  it  acts  as 
a  remedy  in  certain  cases.  It  is  an  excellent  plan  to  season 
the  lupine  by  smoking  it ;  for  when  it  is  kept  in  a  moist  state, 
maggots  are  apt  to  attack  the  germ,  and  render  it  useless  for 
reproduction.  If  cattle  have  eaten  it  off  while  in  leaf,  as  a 
matter  of  necessity  it  should  be  ploughed  in  as  soon  as  possible. 

83  In  B.  xvii.  c.  6. 

84  "  Ex  area."   This  reading  is  favoured  by  the  text  of  Columella.  B.  ii. 
c.  10,  who  says  the  same.  But  "  ex  arvo,"  from  the  field,  ».  e.  the  "  moment 
it  is  gathered" — seems  preferable,  as  being  more  consistent  with  the  context. 

85  From  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  viii.  c.  1.  11,  &c. 

86  It  is  still  thought  that  the  lupine  enriches  the  soil  in  which  it  grows. 

87  Marcellus  Empiricus  says,  that  boiled  lupine  meal,  spread  as  a  plaster, 
aad  laid  on  the  abdomen,  will  destroy  intestinal  worms. 

Chap.  39.]  8ILICIA..  51 

CHAP.  37.  (15.) THE  VETCH. 

The  vetch,88  too,  enriches  the  soil,  and  its  cultivation  en- 
tails no  labour  on  the  agriculturist.  It  is  sown  after  the 
ground  has  been  but  once  turned  up,  and  requires  neither  hoe- 
ing nor  manuring ;  nothing  at  all,  indeed,  except  harrowing. 
There  are  three  periods  for  sowing  it ;  the  first  is  about  the 
setting  of  Arcturus,  when  it  is  intended  for  feeding  cattle 
in  the  month  of  December,  while  in  the  blade  ;  this  crop,  too, 
is  the  best  of  all  for  seed,  for,  although  grazed  upon,  it  will 
bear  just  as  well.  The  second  crop  is  sown  in  the  month  of 
January,  and  the  last  in  March  ;  this  last  being  the  best  crop 
for  fodder.  Of  all  the  seeds  this  is  the  one  that  thrives  best 
in  a  dry  soil ;  still,  however,  it  manifests  no  repugnance  to 
a  shaded  locality.  This  grain,  if  gathered  when  quite  ripe, 
produces  a  chaff  superior  to  that  of  any  other.  If  sown  near 
vines  supported  by  trees,  the  vetch  will  draw  away  the  juice? 
from  the  vines,  and  make  them  languid. 

CHAP.  38. THE   FITCH. 

The  cultivation  of  the  fitch,89  too,  is  attended  with  no  diffi- 
culty. It  requires  weeding,  however,  more  than  the  vetch. 
Like  it,  the  fitch  has  certain  medicinal90  properties ;  for  we 
find  the  fact  still  kept  in  remembrance  by  some  letters  of  his, 
that  the  late  Emperor  Augustus  was  cured  by  its  agency.  Five 
modii  will  sow  as  much  ground  as  a  yoke  of  oxen  can  plough 
in  a  day.  If  sown  in  the  month  of  March,91  it  is  injurious, 
they  say,  to  oxen  :  and  when  sown  in  autumn,  it  is  apt  to  pro- 
duce  head-ache.  If,  however,  it  is  put  in  the  ground  at  the 
beginning  of  spring,  it  will  be  productive  of  no  bad  results. 

CHAP.  39.  (16.) — SILICIA. 

Silicia,92  or,  in  other  words,  fenugreek,  is  sown  after  a  light 
ploughing93  merely,  the  furrows  being  no  more  than  some  four 

88  Vicia  sativa  of  Linnaeus. 

89  Or  orobus,  the  Ervura  ervilia  of  Linna3us. 

90  It  is  thought  by  many  that  the  ervum  is  unwholesome,  being  produc- 
tive of  muscular  weakness.     The  blade  of  it  is  said  to  act  as  a  poison  on 
pigs.     However,  we  find  the  farina,  or  meal,  extolled  by  some  persons  for 
its  medicinal  qualities  ;  and  if  we  are  to  trust  to  the  advertisements  in  the 
newspapers,  it  is  rising  rapidly  in  esteem.     See  B.  xxii.  c.  73. 

91  From  Columella,  B.  ii.  c.  11. 

92  Trigonella  tcenum  Grsecum  of  Linmeus.  w  "  Scfirificatio." 

E   2 

52  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTOBY.        [Book  XVIII. 

fingers  in  depth ;  the  less  the  pains  that  are  bestowed  upon  it 
the  better  it  will  thrive — a  singular  fact  that  there  should  be 
anything  that  profits  from  neglect.  The  kinds,  however,  that 
are  known  as  "secale"  and  "  farrago' '  require  harrowing  only. 


The  people  of  Taurinum,  at  the  foot  of  the  Alps,  give  to 
secale94  the  name  of  "  asia  ;"  it  is  a  very  inferior95  grain,  and 
is  only  employed  to  avert  positive  famine.  It  is  prolific,  but 
has  a  straw  of  remarkable  thinness ;  it  is  also  black  and 
sombre-looking,  but  weighs  extremely  heavy.  Spelt  is  mixed 
with  this  grain  to  modify  its  bitterness,96  and  even  then  it  is 
very  disagreeable  to  the  stomach.  It  will  grow  upon  any  soil, 
and  yields  a  hundred- fold ;  it  is  employed  also  as  a  manure 
for  enriching  the  land. 


Farrago,  a  mixture  made  of  the  refuse  of  "  far,"  or  spelt,  is 
sown  very  thick,  the  vetch  being  sometimes  mingled  with  it ; 
in  Africa,  this  mixture  is  sometimes  made  with  barley.  All 
these  mixtures,  however,  are  only  intended  for  cattle,  and  the 
same  is  the  case  with  the  cracca,97  a  degenerate  kind  of  legu- 
minous plant.  Pigeons,  it  is  said,  are  so  remarkably  fond  of 
this  grain,  that  they  will  never  leave  the  place  where  it  has 
been  given  to  them. 

CHAP.  42. — OCINUM  :    ERVILIA. 

Among  the  ancients  there  was  a  sort  of  fodder,  to  which 
Cato 98  gives  the  name  of  "  ocinum ;"  it  was  employed  by  them 
to  stop  scouring  in  oxen.  This  was  a  mixture  of  various  kinds 
of  fodder,  cut  green  before  the  frosts  came  on.  Mamilius  Sura, 
however,  explains  the  term  differently,  and  says  that  ten  modii 
of  beans,  two  of  vetches,  and  the  same  quantity  of  ervilia,98* 
were  mixed  and  sown  in  autumn  on  a  jugerum  of  land.  He 

94  Probably  the  Secale  cereale  of  Linnrcus,  cultivated  rye. 

95  It  is  now  held  in  high  esteem  in  many  parts  of  Europe. 

96  Rye  has  no  bitterness,  and  this  assertion  has  led  some  to  doubt  if  it  is 
identical  with  the  "  secale"  of  Pliny. 

97  Perhaps  identical  with  the  Vicia  cracca  of  Linnaeus. 

98  In  c.  54  and  60,  and  elsewhere.     See  B.  xvii.  c.  35. 
98«  Probably,  fitches. 

Chap.  43.]  LUCERNE.  53 

states,  also,  that  it  is  a  still  better  plan  to  mix  some  Greek  oats9* 
with  it,  the  grain  of  which  never  falls  to  the  ground ;  this  mix- 
ture, according  to  him,  was  ocinum,  and  was  usually  sown  as  a 
food  for  oxen.  Varro l  informs  us  that  it  received  its  name 
on  account  of  the  celerity  with  which  it  springs  up,  from  the 
Greek  wxiwg,  "  quickly." 

CHAP.    43. LUCERNE. 

Lucerne'  is  by  nature  an  exotic  to  Greece  even,  it  having 
been  first  introduced  into  that  country  from  Media,3  at  the  time 
of  the  Persian  wars  with  King  Darius ;  still  it  deserves  to  be 
mentioned  among  the  very  first  of  these  productions.  So  su- 
perior are  its  qualities,  that  a  single  sowing  will  last  more 
than  thirty4  years.  It  resembles  trefoil  in  appearance,  but  the 
stalk  and  leaves  are  articulated.  The  longer  it  grows  in  the 
stalk,  the  narrower  is  the  leaf.  Amphilochus  has  devoted  a 
whole  book  to  this  subject  and  the  cytisus.6  The  ground  in 
which  it  is  sown,  being  first  cleaned  and  cleared  of  stones,  is 
turned  up  in  the  autumn,  after  which  it  is  ploughed  and  har- 
rowed. It  is  then  harrowed  a  second  and  a  third  time,  at  in- 
tervals of  five  days ;  after  which  manure  is  laid  upon  it.  This 
seed  requires  either  a  soil  that  is  dry,  but  full  of  nutriment,  or 
else  a  well-watered  one.  After  the  ground  has  been  thus  pre- 
pared, the  seed  is  put  in  in  the  month  of  May  ;6  for  if  sown 
earlier,  it  is  in  danger  from  the  frosts.  It  is  necessary  to  sow 
the  seed  very  thick,  so  that  all  the  ground  may  be  occupied, 
and  no  room  left  for  weeds  to  shoot  up  in  the  intervals ;  a 
result  which  may  be  secured  by  sowing  twenty  modii  to  the 
jugerum.  The  seed  must  be  stirred  at  once  with  the  rake,  to 
prevent  the  sun  from  scorching  it,  and  it  should  be  covered 
over  with  earth  as  speedily  as  possible.  If  the  soil  is  naturally 
damp  or  weedy,  the  lucerne  will  be  overpowered,  and  the  spot 

99  Fee  suggests  that  this  may  be  the  Avena  sterilis,  or  else  the  Avena 
fatua  of  Linnaeus. 

1  De  Re  Rust.  B.  i.  c.  31. 

2  "  Medica,"  in  Latin,  a  kind  of  clover,  the  Medicago  sativa  of  Linnaeus, 

3  Fee  is  inclined  to  doubt  this. 

4  Pliny  exggerates  here  :  Columella,  B.  ii.  c.  11,  says,  only  "ten  :"  a 
field,  however,  sown  with  it  will  last,  with  a  fresh  sowing,  as  long  as 
twenty  years. 

5  See  B.  xiii.  c.  47. 

6  Columella,  B.  ii.  c.  11,  says  April. 

64  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 

degenerate  into  an  ordinary  pasture ;  it  is  necessary,  therefore, 
directly  the  crop  is  an  inch  in  height,  to  disengage  it  from 
all  weeds,  by  hand,  in  preference  to  the  weeding-hook. 

It  is  cut  when  it  is  just  beginning  to  flower,  and  this  is  re- 
peated as  often  as  it  throws  out  new  blossoms ;  which  happens 
mostly  six7  times  in  the  year,  and  four  at  the  very  least. 
Care  should  be  taken  to  prevent  it  from  running  to  seed,  as  it 
is  much  more  valuable  as  fodder,  up  to  the  third  year.  It 
should  be  hoed  in  the  spring,  and  cleared  of  all  other  plants  ; 
and  in  the  third  year  the  surface  should  be  well  worked  with 
the  weeding-hook.  By  adopting  this  method,  the  weeds  will 
be  effectually  destroyed,  though  without  detriment  to  the  lu- 
cerne, in  consequence  of  the  depth  of  its  roots.  If  the  weeds 
should  happen  to  get  ahead  of  it,  the  only  remedy  is  to  turn  it 
up  repeatedly  with  the  plough,  until  the  roots  of  the  weeds  are 
thoroughly  destroyed.  This  fodder  should  never  be  given  to 
cattle  to  satiety,  otherwise  it  may  be  necessary  to  let  blood ;  it 
is  best,  too,  when  used  while  green.  "When  dry,  it  becomes 
tough  and  ligneous,  and  falls  away  at  last  into  a  thin,  useless 
dust.  As  to  the  cytisus,  which  also  occupies  the  very  foremost 
rank  among  the  fodders,  we  have  already  spoken s  of  it  at  suf- 
ficient length  when  describing  the  shrubs.  It  remains  for  us 
now  to  complete  our  account  of  all  the  cereals,  and  we  shall 
here  devote  a  portion  of  it  to  the  diseases  to  which  they  are 

CHAP.  44.  (17.) — THE  DISEASES  OF  GRAIN  :    THE  OAT. 

The  foremost  feature  of  disease  in  wheat  is  the  oat.9  Barley, 
too,  will  degenerate  into  the  oat ;  so  much  so,  in  fact,  that  the 
oat  has  become  an  equivalent  for  corn ;  for  the  people  of  Ger- 
many are  in  the  habit  of  sowing  it,  and  make  their  porridge  of 
nothing  else.  This  degeneracy  is  owing  more  particularly  to 
humidity  of  soil  and  climate;  and  a  second  cause  is  a  weakness  in 
the  seed,  the  result  of  its  being  retained  too  long  in  the  ground 
before  it  makes  its  appearance  above  it.  The  same,  too,  will 

7  By  the  aid  of  careful  watering,  as  many  as  eight  to  fourteen  cuttings 
are  obtained  in  the  year,  in  Italy  and  Spain.     In  the  north  of  Europe 
there  is  but  one  crop. 

8  In  B.  xiii.  c.  47. 

9  He  borrows  this  notion  of  the  oat  being  wheat  in  a  diseased  state, 
from  Theophrastus.     Singularly  enough,  it  was  adopted  by  the  learned 

Chap.  44.]  THE   DISEASES   OF   QKAIN.  55 

be  the  consequence,  if  the  seed  is  decayed  when  put  in  the 
ground.  This  may  be  known,  however,  the  moment  it  makes 
its  appearance,  from  which  it  is  quite  evident  that  the  defect 
lies  in  the  root.  There  is  another  form  of  disease,  too,  which 
closely  resembles  the  oat,  and  which  supervenes  when  the 
grain,  already  developed  to  its  full  size,  but  not  ripe,  is  struck 
by  a  noxious  blast,  before  it  has  acquired  its  proper  body  and 
strength ;  in  this  case,  the  seed  pines  away  in  the  ear,  by  a 
kind  of  abortion,  as  it  were,  and  totally  disappears. 

The  wind  is  injurious  to  wheat  and  barley,  at  three 10  periods 
of  the  year  in  particular :  when  they  are  in  blossom,  directly 
the  blossom  has  passed  off,  and  just  as  the  seed  is  beginning  to 
ripen.  In  this  last  case,  the  grain  wastes  away,  while  in  the 
two  former  ones  it  is  prevented  from  being  developed.  Gleams 
of  sunshine,  every  now  and  then,  from  the  midst  of  clouds, 
are  injurious  to  corn.  Maggots,  too,  breed  n  in  the  roots,  when 
the  rains  that  follow  the  seed-time  are  succeeded  by  a  sudden 
heat,  which  encloses  the  humidity  in  the  ground.  Maggots 
make  their  appearance,13  also,  in  the  grain,  when  the  ear  fer- 
ments through  heat  succeeding  a  fall  of  rain.  There  is  a  small 
beetle,  too,  known  by  the  name  of  "cantharis,"13  which  eats 
away  the  blade.  All  these  insects  die,  however,  as  soon  as 
their  nutriment  fails  them.  Oil,14  pitch,  and  grease  are  pre- 
judicial to  grain,  and  care  should  be  taken  not  to  let  them  come 
in  contact  with  the  seed  that  is  sown.  Rain  is  only  beneficial 
to  grain  while  in  the  blade  ;  it  is  injurious  to  wheat  and  barley 
while  they  are  in  blossom,  but  is  not  detrimental  to  the  legu- 
minous plants,  with  the  exception  of  the  chick-pea.  "When 
grain  is  beginning  to  ripen,  rain  is  injurious,  and  to  barley  in 
particular.  There  is  a  white  grass 16  that  grows  in  the  fields, 
very  similar  to  panic  in  appearance,  but  fatal  to  cattle.  As  to 

10  From  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  viii.  c.  10. 

11  This  but  rarely  happens  in  our  climates,  as  Fee  remarks. 

12  The  grains  are  sometimes,  though  rarely,  found  devoured  on  the 
stalk,  by  a  kind  of  larvae. 

13  Some  coleopterous  insect,  probably,  now  unknown,  and  not  the  Can- 
tharis  vesicatoria,  or  "  Spanish  fly,"  as  some  have  imagined.     Diosco- 
rides  and  Athenaeus  state  to  the  same  effect  as  Pliny. 

14  The  proper  influence  of  the  humidity  of  the  earth  would  naturally 
be  impeded  by  a  coating  of  these  substances. 

15  This  plant  has  not  been  identified;    but  none  of  the  gramineous 
plants  are  noxious  to  cattle,  with  the  exception  of  the  seed  of  darnel. 

56  PLINY'S  NATUHAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 

darnel,16  the  tribulus,17  the  thistle,18  and  the  burdock,19 1  can 
consider  them,  no  more  than  the  bramble,  among  the  maladies 
that  attack  the  cereals,  but  rather  as  so  many  pests  inflicted  on 
the  earth.  Mildew,20  a  malady  resulting  from  the  inclemency 
of  the  weather,  and  equally  attacking  the  vine 21  and  corn,  is 
in  no  degree  less  injurious.  It  attacks  corn  most  frequently  in 
localities  which  are  exposed  to  dews,  and  in  vallies  which  have 
not  a  thorough  draught  for  the  wind ;  windy  and  elevated 
spots,  on  the  other  hand,  are  totally  exempt  from  it.  Another 
evil,  again,  in  corn,  is  over-luxuriance,  when  it  falls  to  the 
ground  beneath  the  weight 22  of  the  grain.  One  evil,  however, 
to  which  all  crops  in  common,  the  chick-pea  even,  are  exposed, 
is  the  attacks  of  the  caterpillar,  when  the  rain,  by  washing 
away  the  natural  saltness  of  the  vegetation,  makes  it 23  all  the 
more  tempting  for  its  sweetness. 

There  is  a  certain  plant,24  too,  which  kills  the  chick-pea  and 
the  fitch,  by  twining  around  them ;  the  name  of  it  is  "  oro- 
banche."  In  a  similar  manner,  also,  wheat  is  attacked  by 
darnel,25  barley  by  a  long- stalked  plant,  called  "  segilops,"26  and 
the  lentil  by  an  axe-leafed  grass,  to  which,  from  the  resem- 
blance 27  of  the  leaf,  the  Greeks  have  given  the  name  of  "  pele- 
cinon."  All  these  plants,  too,  kill  the  others  by  entwining 
around  them.  In  the  neighbourhood  of  Philippi,  there  is  a 
plant  known  as  ateramon,28  which  grows  in  a  rich  soil,  and 

16  Lolium  temulentum  of  Linnaeus.  17  See  B.  xxi.  c.  58. 

18  "  Carduus."  A  general  term,  probably  including  the  genera  Centaurea 
(the  prickly  kinds),  Serratula,  Carduus,  and  Cnicus.     The  Centaurea  sol- 
stitialis  is  the  thistle  most  commonly  found  in  the  south  of  Europe. 

19  Gallium  Aparine  of  Linnaeus. 

20  Barley,  wheat,  oats,  and  millet  have,  each  its  own  "rubigo"  or  mil- 
dew, known  to  modern  botany  as  uredo. 

21  The  Erineum  vitis  of  botanists. 

22  This  rarely  happens  except  through  the  violence  of  wind  or  rain. 

23  See  c.  32  of  this  Book. 

24  The  Cuscuta  Europaea,  probably,  of  Linnaeus ;  one  of  the  Convolvuli. 

25  "JEra."     It  is  generally  considered  to  be  the  same  with  darnel, 
though  Pliny  probably  looked  upon  them  as  different. 

26  The  jEgilops  ovata,  probably,  of  Linnaeus.     Dalechamps  and  Har- 
douin  identify  it  with  the  barren  oat,  the  Avena  sterilis  of  Linnaeus. 

27  To  the  Greek  7r(\fKv^  or  battle-axe.     It  is  probably  the  Biserrula 
pelecina  of  Linnaeus,  though  the  Astragalus  hamosus  and  the  Coronilla 
securidaca  of  Linnaeus  have  been  suggested. 

28  Pliny  has  here   committed  a  singular   error    in    translating  from 
Theopnrastus,  de  Causis,  B.  iv.  c.  14,  who  only  says  that  a  cold  wind  in 

Chap.  4.5.]         REMEDIES  FOE  THE  DISEASES  OF  <3HIAIN.  57 

kills  the  bean,  after  it  has  been  exposed,  while  wet,  to  the 
blasts  of  a  certain  wind  :  when  it  grows  in  a  thin,  light  soil, 
this  plant  is  called  "  teramon."  The  seed  of  darnel  is  ex- 
tremely minute,  and  is  enclosed  in  a  prickly  husk.  If  intro- 
duced into  bread,  it  will  speedily  produce  vertigo  ;  and  it  is 
said  that  in  Asia  and  Greece,  the  bath-keepers,  when  they  want 
to  disperse  a  crowd  of  people,  throw  this  seed  upon  burning 
coals.  The  phalangiuin,  a  diminutive  insect  of  the  spider 
genus,29  breeds  in  the  fitch,  if  the  winter  happens  to  be  wet. 
Slugs,  too,  breed  in  the  vetch,  and  sometime*  a  tiny  snail  makes 
its  way  out  of  the  ground,  and  eats  it  away  in  a  most  singular 

These  are  pretty  nearly  all  the  maladies  to  which  grain  is 


The  best  remedy  for  these  maladies,  so  long  as  grain  is  in 
the  blade,  is  the  weeding-hook,  and,  at  the  moment  of  sowing, 
ashes.30  As  to  those  diseases  which  develope  themselves  in  the 
seed  and  about  the  root,  with  due  care  precautions  may  be  ef- 
fectually employed  against  them.  It  is  generally  supposed  that 
if  seed  has  been  first  steeped  in  wine,31  it  will  be  less  exposed 
to  disease.  Virgil  32  recommends  that  beans  should  be  drenched 
with  nitre  and  amurca  of  olives  ;  and  he  says  that  if  this  is 
done,  they  will  be  all  the  larger.  Some  persons,  again,  are  of 
opinion,  that  they  will  grow  of  increased  size,  if  the  seed  is 
steeped  for  three  days  before  it  is  sown  in  a  solution  of  urine 
and  water.  If  the  ground,  too,  is  hoed  three  times,  a  modius 
of  beans  in  the  pod,  they  say,  will  yield  not  less  than  a  modius 

the  vicinity  of  Philippi  makes  the  beans  difficult  to  cook  or  boil,  ar 
From  this  word  he  has  coined  two  imaginary  plants,  the  "ateramon," 
and  the  "  teramon."  Hardouin  defends  Pliny,  by  suggesting  that  he  has 
borrowed  the  passage  from  another  source,  while  Fee  doubts  if  he  really 
understood  the  Greek  language. 

29  More  probably  one  of  the  Coleoptera.     He  borrows  from  Theo- 
phrastus,  Hist.  Anim.  B.  viii.  c.  10. 

30  This  will  only  prevent  the  young  plants  from  becoming  a  prey  to 
snails  and  slugs. 

31  This  plan  is  attended  with  no  good  results. 

32  Georg.  i.  193.     It  is  generally  said  that  if  seed  is  steeped  in  a  solu- 
tion of  nitre,  and  more  particularly  hydrochloric  acid,  it  will  germinate 
with  accelerated  rapidity  ;  the  produce,  liowever,  is  no  finer  than  at  other 

58  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XVIII. 

of  shelled33  beans.  Other  seeds,  again,  it  is  said,  will  be 
exempt  from  the  attacks  of  maggots,  if  bruised  cypress34  leaves 
are  mixed  with  them,  or  if  they  are  sown  just  at  the  moon's 
conjunction.  Many  persons,  for  the  more  effectual  protection 
of  millet,  recommend  that  a  bramble-frog  should  be  carried  at 
night  round  the  field  before  the  hoeing  is  done,  and  then  buried 
in  an  earthen  vessel  in  the  middle  of  it.  If  this  is  done,  they 
say,  neither  sparrows  nor  worms  will  attack  the  crop.  The 
frog,  however,  must  be  disinterred  before  the  millet  is  cut ;  for 
if  this  is  neglected,  the  produce  will  be  bitter.  It  is  pretended, 
too,  that  all  seeds  which  have  been  touched  by  the  shoulders 
of  a  mole  are  remarkably  productive. 

Democritus  recommends  that  all  seeds  before  they  are  sown 
should  be  steeped  in  the  juice  of  the  herb  known  as  "  aizoiim/' M 
which  grows  on  tiles  or  shingles,  and  is  known  to  us  by  the 
Latin  name  of  "  sedum"  or  "  digitellum." 3G  If  blight  pre- 
vails, or  if  worms  are  found  adhering  to  the  roots,  it  is  a  very 
common  remedy  to  sprinkle  the  plants  with  pure  amurca  of 
olives  without  salt,  and  then  to  hoe  the  ground.  If,  however, 
the  crop  should  be  beginning  to  joint,  it  should  be  stubbed  at 
once,  for  fear  lest  the  weeds  should  gain  the  upper  hand.  I 
know  for  certain37  that  flights  of  starlings  and  sparrows,  those 
pests  to  millet  and  panic,  are  effectually  driven  away  by  means 
of  a  certain  herb,  the  name  of  which  is  unknown  to  me,  being 
buried  at  the  four  corners  of  the  field :  it  is  a  wonderful  thing 
to  relate,  but  in  such  case  not  a  single  bird  will  enter  it.  Mice 
are  kept  away  by  the  ashes  of  a  weasel  or  a  cat  being  steeped 
in  water  and  then  thrown  upon  the  seed,  or  else  by  using  the 
water  in  which  the  body  of  a  weasel  or  a  cat  has  been  boiled. 
The  odour,  however,  of  these  animals  makes  itself  perceived 
in  the  bread  even ;  for  which  reason  it  is  generally  thought  a 
better  plan  to  steep  the  seed  in  ox-gall.38  As  for  mildew, 
that  greatest  curse  of  all  to  corn,  if  branches  of  laurel  are 

33  K  Fractae."    Perhaps,  more  properly  "  crushed." 

34  The  odour  of  cypress,  or  savin,  Fee  thinks,  might   possibly  keep 
away  noxious  insects. 

35  The  "always  living,"  or  perennial  plant,  our    "house-leek,"  the 
Sedum  acre  of  Linnaeus.     See  E.  xxv.  c.  102. 

36  "  Little  finger,"  from  the  shape  of  the  leaves. 

37  He  must  have  allowed  himself  to  be  imposed  upon  in  this  case. 

38  Fee  thinks  that  this  may  possibly  be  efficacious  against  the  attacks 
of  rats,  as  the  author  of  the  Geoponica,  B.  x.,  states. 

Chap.  46.]  CROPS  SOWN  IN  DIFFERENT  SOILS.  59 

fixed  in  the  ground,  it  will  pass  away  from  the  field  into  the 
leaves  of  the  laurel.  Over- luxuriance  in  corn  is  repressed  by 
the  teeth  of  cattle,39  but  only  while  it  is  in  the  blade ;  in  which 
case,  if  depastured  upon  ever  so  often,  no  injury  to  it  when 
in  the  ear  will  be  the  result.  If  the  ear,  too,  is  once  cut  off, 
the  grain,  it  is  well  known,  will  assume  a  larger40  form,  but 
will  be  hollow  within  and  worthless,  and  if  sown,  will  come 
to  nothing. 

At  Babylon,  however,  they  cut  the  blade  twice,  and  then 
let  the  cattle  pasture  on  it  a  third  time,  for  otherwise  it  would 
run  to  nothing  but  leaf.  Even  then,  however,  so  fertile  is  the 
soil,  that  it  yields  fifty,  and,  indeed,  with  care,  as  much  as  a 
hundred,  fold.  Nor  is  the  cultivation  of  it  attended  with  any 
difficulty,  the  only  object  being  to  let  the  ground  be  under 
water  as  long  as  possible,  in  order  that  the  extreme  richness 
and  exuberance  of  the  soil  may  be  modified.  The  Euphrates, 
however,  and  the  Tigris  do  not  deposit  a  slime,  in  the  same 
way  that  the  Mlus  does  in  Egypt,  nor  does  the  soil  produce 
vegetation  spontaneously ;  but  still,  so  great  is  the  fertility, 
that,  although  the  seed  is  only  trodden  in  with  the  foot,  a  crop 
springs  up  spontaneously  the  following  year.  So  great  a  dif- 
ference in  soils  as  this,  reminds  me  that  I  ought  to  take  this 
opportunity  of  specifying  those  which  are  the  best  adapted 
for  the  various  kinds  of  grain. 



This,  then,  is  the  opinion  expressed  by  Cato41  on  the  subject: 
"  In  a  dense  and  fertile  soil  wheat  should  be  sown :  but  if  the 
locality  is  subject  to  fogs,  rape,  radishes,  millet,  and  panic. 
Where  the  land42  is  cold  and  moist,  sowing  should  be  com- 
menced earlier  ;  but  where  it  is  hot,  at  a  later  period.  In  a 
red,  black,  or  gravelly  soil,  provided  it  is  not  watery,  lupines 
should  be  sown ;  but  in  chalk,  red  earth,  or  a  watery  soil, 
spelt.43  Where  a  locality  is  dry,  free  from  weeds,  and  not 
overshadowed,  wheat  should  be  put  in  ;  and  where  the  soil  is 

39  Virgil,  Georg.  i.  Ill,  recommends  the  same  plan,  and  it  is  still  fol- 
lowed by  agriculturists.     It  is  not  without  its  inconveniences,  however. 

40  This  is  not  consistent  with  truth,  for  no  fresh  ear  will  assume  its  place. 

41  De  Re  Rust.  c.  6.  42  De  Re  Rust,  c,  34. 
43  "  Ador."     See  c.  10  of  this  Book. 


strong  and  powerful,  beans.  Vetches  should  be  grown  in  a 
soil  as  free  from  water  and  weeds  as  possible ;  while  wheat 
and  winter  wheat  are  best  adapted  to  an  open,  elevated  loca- 
lity, fully  exposed  to  the  warmth  of  the  sun.  The  lentil 
thrives  best  in  a  meagre,  red  earth,  free  from  weeds.  Barley  is 
equally  suited  for  fallow  land  and  for  a  soil  that  is  not  intended 
to  be  fallow,  and  three-month  wheat,  for  a  soil  upon  which  a 
crop  of  ordinary  wheat  would  never  ripen,  but  strong  enough 
to  bear." 

The  following,  too,  is  sound  advice  :44  Those  plants  should 
be  sown  in  a  thin  soil  which  do  not  stand  in  need  of  much 
nutriment,  the  cytisus,  for  instance,  and  such  of  the  leguminous 
plants,  with  the  exception  of  the  chick-pea,  as  are  taken  up 
by  the  roots  and  not  cut.  From  this  mode  of  gathering  them 
— "  legere" — the  legumina  derive  their  name.  "Where  it  is  a 
rich  earth,  those  plants  should  be  grown  which  require  a 
greater  proportion  of  nutriment,  coleworts  for  instance,  wheat, 
winter-wheat,  and  flax.  The  result,  then,  will  be,  that  a 
light  soil  will  be  given  to  barley — the  root  of  that  grain  stand- 
ing in  need  of  less  nutriment — while  a  more  dense,  though 
easily- worked  soil,  will  be  assigned  to  wheat.  In  humid  loca- 
lities spelt  should  be  sown  in  preference  to  wheat ;  but  where 
the  soil  is  of  moderate  temperature,  either  wheat  or  barley 
may  be  grown.  Declivities  produce  a  stronger  growth  of 
wheat,  but  in  smaller  quantities.  Spelt  and  winter-wheat 
adopt  a  moist,  cretaceous  soil  in  preference  to  any  other. 

(18.)  The  only  occasion  on  which  there  ever  was  a  prodigy 
connected  with  grain,  at  least  that  I  am  aware  of,  was  in  the 
consulship  of  P.  -^Elius  and  Cneius  Cornelius,  the  year45  in 
which  Hannibal  was  vanquished :  on  that  occasion,  we  find 
it  stated,  corn  was  seen  growing  upon  trees.45 


As  we  have  now  spoken  at  sufficient  length  of  the  several 
varieties  of  grain  and  soil,  we  shall  proceed  to  treat  of  the 
methods  adopted  in  tilling  the  ground,  taking  care,  in  the  very 

44  From  Varro;  DeRe  Rust.  i.  23. 

45  A.TT.C.  553. 

46  There  is  nothing  wonderful  in  a  few  grains  of  corn  germinating  in 
the  cleft  of  a  tree. 

Chap.  47.]         CULTIVATION  BY  VABIOUS  NATIONS.  61 

first  place,  to  make  mention  of  the  peculiar  facilities  enjoyed 
by  Egypt  in  this  respect.  In  that  country,  performing  the 
duties  of  the  husbandman,  the  Nile  begins  to  overflow,  as 
already  stated,47  immediately  after  the  summer  solstice  or  the 
new  moon,  gradually  at  first,  but  afterwards  with  increased 
impetuosity,  as  long  as  the  sun  remains  in  the  sign  of  Leo. 
When  the  sun  has  passed  into  Virgo,  the  impetuosity  of  the 
overflow  begins  to  slacken,  and  when  he  has  entered  Libra  the 
river  subsides.  Should  it  not  have  exceeded  twelve  cubits  in 
its  overflow,  famine  is  the  sure  result ;  and  this  is  equally  the 
case  if  it  should  chance  to  exceed  sixteen ;  for  the  higher  it 
has  risen,  the  more  slowly  it  subsides,  and,  of  course,  the  seed- 
time is  impeded  in  proportion.  It  was  formerly  a  very  general 
belief  that  immediately  upon  the  subsiding  of  the  waters  the 
Egyptians  were  in  the  habit  of  driving  herds  of  swine  over 
the  ground,  for  the  purpose  of  treading  the  seed  into  the  moist 
soil — and  it  is  my  own  impression  that  this  was  done  in  ancient 
times.  At  the  present  day  even,  the  operation  is  not  attended 
with  much  greater  labour.  It  is  well  known,  however,  that 
the  seed  is  first  laid  upon  the  slime  that  has  been  left  by  the 
river  on  its  subsidence,  and  then  ploughed  in ;  this  being  done 
at  the  beginning  of  November.  After  this  is  done,  a  few  per- 
sons are  employed  in  stubbing,  an  operation  known  there  as 
"botanisrnos."  The  rest  of  the  labourers,  however,  have  no 
occasion  to  visit  the  land  again  till  a  little  before  the  calends 
of  April,48  and  then  it  is  with  the  reaping-hook.  The  harvest 
is  completed  in  the  month  of  May.  The  stem  is  never  so 
much  as  a  cubit  in  length,  as  there  is  a  stratum  of  sand  be- 
neath the  slime,  from  which  last  alone  the  grain  receives  its 
support.  The  best  wheat  of  all  is  that  of  the  region  of 
Thebais,  Egypt49  being  of  a  marshy  character. 

The  method  adopted  at  Seleucia  in  Babylonia  is  very  similar 
to  this,  but  the  fertility  there  is  still  greater,  owing  to  the 
overflow  of  the  Euphrates  and  Tigris,50  the  degree  of  irriga- 
tion being  artificially  modified  in  those  parts.  In  Syria,  too, 
the  furrows  are  made  extremely  light,  while  in  many  parts  of 

47  In  B.  v.  c.  10.  48  First  of  April. 

49  I.  e.  Egypt  Proper,  the  Delta,  or  Lower  Egypt,  Thebais  being  in 
Upper  Egypt. 

50  The  overflow  of  these  rivers  is  by  no  means  to  be  compared  with 
that  of  the  Nile.' 

62  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 

Italy,  again,  it  takes  as  many  as  eight  oxen  to  pant  and  blow 
at  a  single  plough.  All  the  operations  of  agriculture,  but  this 
in  particular,  should  be  regulated  by  the  oracular  precept — 
"  Eemember  that  every  locality  has  its  own  tendencies." 


Ploughs  are  of  various  kinds.  The  coulter51  is  the  iron  part 
that  cuts  up  the  dense  earth  before  it  is  broken  into  pieces,  and 
traces  beforehand  by  its  incisions  the  future  furrows,  which  the 
share,  reversed,52  is  to  open  out  with  its  teeth.  Another  kind — 
the  common  plough-share — is  nothing  more  than  a  lever,  fur- 
nished with  a  pointed  beak  ;  while  another  variety,  which  is  only 
used  in  light,  easy  soils,  does  not  present  an  edge  projecting  from 
the  share-beam  throughout,  but  only  a  small  point  at  the  ex- 
tremity. In  a  fourth  kind  again,  this  point  is  larger  and  formed 
with  a  cutting  edge  ;  by  the  agency  of  which  implement,  it 
both  cleaves  the  ground,  and,  with  the  sharp  edges  at  the  sides, 
cuts  up  the  weeds  by  the  roots.  There  has  been  invented,  at  a 
comparatively  recent  period,  in  that  part  of  Gaul53  known  as 
BhaBtia,  a  plough  with  the  addition  of  two  small  wheels,  and 
known  by  the  name  of  "  plaumorati."54  The  extremity  of  the 
share  in  this  has  the  form  of  a  spade :  it  is  only  used,  however, 
for  sowing  in  cultivated  lands,  and  upon  soils  which  are  nearly 
fallow.  The  broader  the  plough-share,  the  better  it  is  for 
turning  up  the  clods  of  earth.  Immediately  after  ploughing, 
the  seed  is  put  into  the  ground,  and  then  harrows55  with  long 
teeth  are  drawn  over  it.  Lands  which  have  been  sown  in  this 
way  require  no  hoeing,  but  two  or  three  pairs  of  oxen  are  em- 
ployed in  ploughing.  It  is  a  fair  estimate  to  consider  that  a 
single  yoke  of  oxen  can  work  forty  jugera  of  land  in  the  year, 
where  the  soil  is  light,  and  thirty  where  it  is  stubborn. 

CHAP.    49.    (19.)  —  THE    MODE    OP    PLOUGHING. 

In  ploughing,  the  most  rigid  attention  should  be  paid  to  the 

51  Fee  remarks,  that  the  plough  here  described  differs  but  little  from 
that  used  in  some  provinces  of  France.  52  Resupinus. 

'"  Gallia  Togata.     Rhaetia  is  the  modern  country  of  the  Orisons. 

or  radtj  a  wheel. 
65  4<  Crates;"  probably  made  of  hurdles;  see  Virgil,  Georg.  i.  95. 

Chap.  49.]  THE   MODE    OF   PLOUGHING.  63 

oracular  precepts  given  by  Cato55  on  the  subject.  "  What  is 
the  essence  of  good  tillage  ?  Good  ploughing.  What  is  the 
second  point?  Ploughing  again.  What  is  the  third  point? 
Manuring.  Take  care  not  to  make  crooked  furrows.  Be 
careful  to  plough  at  the  proper  time."  In  warm  localities  it 
is  necessary  to  open  the  ground  immediately  after  the  winter 
solstice,  but  where  it  is  cold,  directly  after  the  vernal  equinox  : 
this,  too,  should  be  done  sooner  in  dry  districts  than  in  wet  ones, 
in  a  dense  s"oil  than  a  loose  one,  in  a  rich  land  than  a  meagre 
one.  In  countries  where  the  summers  are  hot  and  oppressive, 
the  soil  cretaceous  or  thin,  it  is  the  best  plan  to  plough  between 
the  summer  solstice  and  the  autumnal  equinox.  Where,  on 
the  other  hand,  the  heat  is  moderate,  with  frequent  falls  of  rain, 
and  the  soil  rich  and  full  of  vegetation,  the  ploughing  should 
be  done  during  the  prevalence  of  the  heat.  A  deep,  heavy 
soil,  again,  should  be  ploughed  in  winter ;  but  one  that  is  very 
thin  and  dry,  only  just  before  putting  in  the  seed. 

Tillage,  too,  has  its  own  particular  rules55 — Never  touch  the 
ground  while  it  is  wet  and  cloggy  ;  plough  with  all  your  might ; 
loosen  the  ground  before  you  begin  to  plough.  This  method 
has  its  advantages,  for  by  turning  up  the  clods  the  roots  of  the 
weeds  are  killed.  Some  persons  recommend  that  in  every  case 
the  ground  should  be  turned  up  immediately  after  the  vernal 
equinox.  Land  that  has  been  ploughed  once  in  spring,  from 
that  circumstance  has  the  name  of  *'  vervactum."57  This,  too, 
is  equally  necessary  in  the  case  of  fallow  land,  by  which  term 
is  meant  land  that  is  sown  only  in  alternate  years  The  oxen 
employed  in  ploughing  should  be  harnessed  as  tightly  as  pos- 
sible, to  make  them  plough  with  their  heads  up ;  attention 
paid  to  this  point  will  prevent  them  from  galling  the  neck.  If 
it  is  among  trees  and  vines  that  you  are  ploughing,  the  oxen 
should  be  muzzled,  to  prevent  them  from  eating  off  the  tender 
buds.  There  should  be  a  small  bill-hook,  too,  projecting  from 
the  plough-tail,  for  the  purpose  of  cutting  up  the  roots ;  this 
plan  being  preferable  to  that  of  turning  them  up  with  the  share, 
and  so  straining  the  oxen.  When  ploughing,  finish  the  furrow 
at  one  spell,  and  never  stop  to  take  breath  in  the  middle. 

&  De  Re  Rust.  c.  61. 

56  These  rules  are  borrowed  mostly  from  Varro,  B.  i.  c.  19,  and  Coiu- 
mella,  B.  ii.  c.  4. 
w  "  Vere  actum  ;"  "  worked  in  spring." 

64  PLINY'S  WA.TUBAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XVIII. 

It  is  a  fair  day's  work  to  plough  one  jugerum,  for  the  first 
time,  nine  inches  in  depth ;  and  the  second  time,  one  jugerum 
and  a  half — that  is  to  say,  if  it  is  an  easy  soil.  If  this,  how- 
ever, is  not  the  case,  it  will  take  a  day  to  turn  up  half  a  juge- 
rum for  the  first  time,  and  a  whole  jugerum  the  second ;  for 
Nature  has  set  limits  to  the  powers  of  animals  even.  The 
furrows  should  be  made,  in  every  case,  first  in  a  straight  line, 
and  then  others  should  be  drawn,  crossing  them  obliquely.58 
Upon  a  hill-side  the  furrows  are  drawn  transversely59  only, 
the  point  of  the  share  inclining  upwards  at  one  moment  and 
downwards60  at  another.  Man,  too,  is  so  well  fitted  for  labour, 
that  he  is  able  to  supply  the  place  of  the  ox  even ;  at  all  events, 
it  is  without  the  aid  of  that  animal  that  the  mountain  tribes 
plough,  having  only  the  hoe  to  help  them.61 

The  ploughman,  unless  he  stoops  to  his  work,  is  sure  to  pre- 
varicate,62 a  word  which  has  been  transferred  to  the  Forum,  as 
a  censure  upon  those  who  transgress — at  any  rate,  let  those  be 
on  their  guard  against  it,  where  it  was  first  employed.  The 
share  should  be  cleaned  every  now  and  then  with  a  stick  pointed 
with  a  scraper.  The  ridges  that  are  left  between  every  two 
furrows,  should  not  be  left  in  a  rough  state,  nor  should  large 
clods  be  left  protruding  from  the  ground.  A  field  is  badly 
ploughed  that  stands  in  need  of  harrowing  after  the  seed  is  in ; 
but  the  work  has  been  properly  done,  when  it  is  impossible  to 
say  in  which  direction  the  share  has  gone.  It  is  a  good  plan, 
too,  to  leave  a  channel  every  now  and  then,  if  the  nature  of  the 
spot  requires  it,  by  making  furrows  of  a  larger  size,  to  draw  off 
the  water  into  the  drains. 

(20.)  After  the  furrows  have  been  gone  over  again  transverse- 
ly, the  clods  are  broken,  where  there  is  a  necessity  for  it,  with 
either  the  harrow  or  the  rake;63  and  this  operation  is  repeated 

58  Virgil  says  the  same,  Georg.  i.  9. 

59  Crosswise,  or  horizontally. 

60  Zig-zag,  apparently. 

61  A  rude  foreshadowing  of  the  spade  husbandry  so  highly  spoken  of 
at  the  present  day. 

62  «  Prevaricare,"  "  to  make  a  balk,"  as  we  call  it,  to  make  a  tortuous 
furrow,  diverging  from  the  straight  line. 

63  He  probably  means  the  heavy  "  rastrum,"  or  rake,  mentioned  by 
Virgil,  Georg,  i.  164.      It  is  impossible  to  say  what  was  the  shape  of  this 
heavy  rake,  or  how  it  was  used.    Light,  or  hand  rakes  were  in  common 
use  as  well. 

Chap.  49.]  THE    MODE    OF  PLOUGHING.  65 

after  the  seed  has  been  put  in.  This  last  harrowing  is  done, 
where  the  usage  of  the  locality  will  allow  of  it,  with  either  a 
toothed  harrow,  or  else  a  plank  attached  to  the  plough.  This  ope- 
ration of  covering  in  the  seed  is  called  "lirare,"  from  which  is 
derived  the  word  "  deliratio."64  Virgil,65  it  is  generally  thought, 
intends  to  recommend  sowing  after  four  ploughings,  in  the 
passage  where  he  says  that  land  will  bear  the  best  crop,  which 
has  twice  felt  the  sun  and  twice  the  cold.  Where  the  soil  is 
dense,  as  in  most  parts  of  Italy,  it  is  a  still  better  plan  to  go 
over  the  ground  five  times  before  sowing ;  in  Etruria,  they  give 
the  land  as  many  as  nine  ploughings  first.  The  bean,  however, 
and  the  vetch  may  be  sown  with  no  risk,  without  turning  up 
the  land  at  all ;  which,  of  course,  is  so  much  labour  saved. 

We  must  not  here  omit  to  mention  still  one  other  method  of 
ploughing,  which  the  devastations  of  warfare  have  suggested 
in  Italy  that  lies  beyond  the  Padus.  The  Salassi,66  when 
ravaging  the  territories  which  lay  at  the  foot  of  the  Alps,  made 
an  attempt  to  lay  waste  the  crops  of  panic  and  millet  that  were 
just  appearing  above  the  ground.  Finding,  however,  that 
Nature  resisted  all  their  endeavours,  they  passed  the  plough 
over  the  ground,  the  result  of  which  was  that  the  crops  were 
more  abundant  than  ever  ;  and  this  it  was  that  first  taught  us 
the  method  of  ploughing  in,  expressed  by  the  word  "  artrare," 
otherwise  "  aratrare,"  in  my  opinion  the  original  form.  This 
is  done  either  just  as  the  stem  begins  to  develope  itself,  or  else 
when  it  has  put  forth  as  many  as  two  or  three  leaves.  Nor 
must  we  withhold  from  the  reader  a  more  recent  method,  which 
was  discovered  the  year  but  one  before  this,67  in  the  territory 
of  the  Treviri.  The  crops  having  been  nipped  by  the  extreme 
severity  of  the  winter,  the  people  sowed  the  land  over  again 
in  the  month  of  March,  and  had  a  most  abundant  harvest. 

We  shall  now  proceed  to  a  description  of  the  peculiar  methods 
employed  in  cultivating  each  description  of  grain. 

64  "  A  gong  crooked ;"    hence  its  meaning  of,  folly,  dotage,  or  madness. 
63  Georg.  i.  47.     Servius  seems  to  understand  it  that  the  furrow  should 
be  untouched  for  two  days  and  two  nights  before  it  is  gone  over  again. 

66  Fee  declines  to  give  credit  to  this  story. 

67  A.U.C.  830. 

VOL.    IV. 

66  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XVIII. 


For  winter  wheat,  spelt,  wheat,  zea,68  and  barley,  harrow, 
hoe  and  stub  upon  the  days  which  will  be  mentioned 69  in  the 
sequel.  A  single  hand  per  jugerum  will  be  quite  enough  for 
any  one  of  these  kinds  of  grain.  The  operation  of  hoeing 
loosens  the  ground  in  spring  when  it  has  been  hardened  and 
saddened  by  the  rigours  of  the  winter,  and  admits  the  early 
sun  to  the  interior.  In  hoeing,  every  care  must  be  taken  not 
to  go  beneath  the  roots  of  the  corn ;  in  the  case  of  wheat,  zea, 
and  barley,  it  is  best  to  give  a  couple  of  hoeings.  Stubbing,70 
when  the  crop  is  just  beginning  to  joint,  cleanses  it  of  all 
noxious  weeds,  disengages  the  roots  of  the  corn,  and  liberates 
the  growing  blade  from  the  clods.  Among  the  leguminous 
plants,  the  chick-pea  requires  the  same  treatment  that  spelt 
does.  The  bean  requires  no  stubbing,  being  quite  able  of  itself 
to  overpower  all  weeds ;  the  lupine,  too,  is  harrowed  only. 
Millet  and  panic  are  both  harrowed  and  hoed ;  but  this  opera- 
tion is  never  repeated,  and  they  do  not  require  stubbing. 
Fenugreek  and  the  kidney- bean  require  harrowing  only. 

There  are  some  kinds  of  ground,  the  extreme  fertility  of 
which  obliges  the  grower  to  comb  down  the  crops  while  in  the 
blade — this  is  done  with  a  sort  of  harrow71  armed  with  pointed 
iron  teeth — and  even  then  he  is  obliged  to  depasture  cattle  upon 
them.  When,  however,  the  blade  has  been  thus  eaten  down, 
it  stands  in  need  of  hoeing  to  restore  it  to  its  former  vigour. 

But  in  Bactria,  and  at  Cyrenae  in  Africa,  all  this  trouble  has 
been  rendered  quite  unnecessary  by  the  indulgent  benignity  of 
the  climate,  and  after  the  seed  is  in,  the  owner  has  no  occasion 
to  return  to  the  field  till  the  time  has  come  for  getting  in  the 
harvest.  In  those  parts  the  natural  dryness  of  the  soil  prevents 
noxious  weeds  from  springing  up,  and,  aided  by  the  night  dews 
alone,  the  soil  supplies  its  nutriment  to  the  grain.  Virgil72 
recommends  that  the  ground  should  be  left  to  enjoy  repose  every 
other  year ;  and  this,  no  doubt,  if  the  extent  of  the  farm  will 
admit  of  it,  is  the  most  advantageous  plan.  If,  however,  cir- 

s*  li  Semen,"  "  seed-wheat,"  a  variety  only  of  spelt. 
69  In  e.v65  of  this  Book.  70  Runcatio. 

71  Crates.  «  Georg.  i.  71. 

Chap.  51.]  EXTREME   FEUTILITY   OF   SOIL.        '  67 

cumstances  will  not  allow  of  it,  spelt  should  be  sown  upon  the 
ground  that  has  been  first  cropped  with  lupines,  vetches,  or 
beans ;  for  all  these  have  a  tendency  to  make  the  soil  more 
fertile.  We  ought  to  remark  here  more  particularly,  that  here 
and  there  certain  plants  are  sown  for  the  benefit  of  others, 
although,  as  already  stated  in  the  preceding  Book,73  not  to 
repeat  the  same  thing  over  again,  they  are  of  little  value  them- 
selves. But  it  is  the  nature  of  each  soil  that  is  of  the  greatest 

CHAP.    51.    (22.) — EXTREME   FEBTILITY   OF   SOIL. 

There  is  a  city  of  Africa,  situate  in  the  midst  of  the  sands 
as  you  journey  towards  the  Syrtes  and  Great  Leptis,  Tacape74 
by  name.  The  soil  there,  which  is  always  well- watered,  en- 
joys a  degree  of  fertility  quite  marvellous.  Through  this 
spot,  which  extends  about  three  miles  each  way,  a  spring  of 
water  flows — in  great  abundance  it  is  true — but  still,  it  is  only 
at  certain  hours  that  its  waters  are  distributed  among  the  in- 
habitants. Here,  beneath  a  palm  of  enormous  size,  grows  the 
olive,  beneath  the  olive  the  fig,  beneath  the  fig,  again,  the  pome- 
granate, beneath  the  pomegranate  the  vine,  and  beneath  the 
vine  we  find  sown,  first  wheat,  then  the  leguminous  plants,  and 
after  them  garden  herbs — all  in  the  same  year,  and  all  growing 
beneath  another's  shade.  Four  cubits  square  of  this  same 
ground — the  cubit75  being  measured  with  the  fingers  contracted 
and  not  extended — sell  at  the  rate  of  four  denarii.76  But  what 
is  more  surprising  than  all,  is  the  fact  that  here  the  vine  bears 
twice,  and  that  there  are  two  vintages  in  the  year.  Indeed, 
if  the  fertility  of  the  soil  were  not  distributed  in  this  way 
among  a  multitude  of  productions,  each  crop  would  perish  from 
its  own  exuberance  :  as  it  is,  there  is  no  part  of  the  year  that 
there  is  not  some  crop  or  other  being  gathered  in ;  and  yet,  it 
is  a  well-known  fact,  that  the  people  do  nothing  at  all  to  pro- 
mote this  fruitfulness. 

73  In  B.  xvii.  c.  7. 

<*  See  B.  v.  c.  3,  and  B.  xvi.  c.  50.  It  is  also  mentioned  by  Ptolemy 
and  Procopius,  It  was  situate  evidently  in  an  oasis. 

73  Or  arm's  length  from  the  elbow. 

76  He  surely  does  not  mention  this  as  an  extravagant  price,  more  espe- 
cially when  he  has  so  recently  spoken  (i  c.  34)  of  rape  selling  at  a  ses- 
terce per  pound 

r  2 

68  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [BookX\rIII. 

There  are  very  considerable  differences,  too,  in  the  nature  of 
water,  as  employed  for  the  purposes  of  irrigation.  In  the 
province  of  Gallia  l^arbonensis  there  is  a  famous  fountain, 
Orge  by  name ;  within  it  there  grow  plants  which  are  sought 
for  with  such  eagerness  by  the  cattle,  that  they  will  plunge 
over  head  into  the  water  to  get  at  them ;  it  is  a  well  ascertained77 
fact,  however,  that  these  plants,  though  growing  in  the  water, 
receive  their  nutriment  only  from  the  rains  that  fall.  It  is 
as  well  then  that  every  one  should  be  fully  acquainted  with  the 
nature,  not  only  of  the  soil,  but  of  the  water  too. 

CHAP.    52.    (23.) THE    METHOD    OF    SOWING    MOKE    THAN    ONCE 


If  the  soil  is  of  that  nature  which  we  have  already78  spoken 
of  as  "  tender/'79  after  a  crop  of  barley  has  been  grown  upon 
it,  millet  may  be  sown,  and  after  the  millet  has  been  got  in, 
rape.  In  succession  to  these,  again,  barley  may  be  put  in,  or 
else  wheat,  as  in  Campania ;  and  it  will  be  quite  enougb.  in 
such  case,  to  plough  the  ground  when  the  seed  is  sown.  There 
is  another  rotation  again — when  the  ground  has  been  cropped 
with  spelt,80  it  should  lie  fallow  the  four  winter  months ;  after 
which,  spring  beans  should  be  put  in,  to  keep  it  occupied  till 
the  time  comes  for  cropping  it  with  winter  beans.  Where  the 
soil  is  too  rich,  it  may  lie  fallow  one  year,  care  being  taken  after 
sowing  it  with  corn  to  crop  it  with  the  leguminous  plants  the 
third  Where,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  too  thin,  the  land 
should  lie  fallow  up  to  the  third  year  even.  Some  persons  re- 
commend that  corn  should  never  be  sown  except  in  land  which 
has  lain  fallow  the  year  before. 


The  proper  method  of  manuring  is  here  a  very  important 
subject  for  consideration — we  have  already  treated  of  it  at 
some  length  in  the  preceding  Book.82  The  only  point  that  is 

77  How  was  this  ascertained  ?  Fee  seems  to  think  that  it  is  the  Fes- 
tuca  fluitans  of  Linnseus  that  is  alluded  to,  it  heing  eagerly  sought  by 

78  In  B.  xvii.  c.  3.  79  Tenerum. 

80  Adoreum. 

81  "  Tertio"  may  possibly  mean  the  u  third  time,"«.  e.  for  every  third 
crop.  82  In  B.  xvii.  c.  6. 

Chap.  54.]      HOW  TO  ASCERTAIN  THE  QUALITY  OF  SEED.  69 

universally  agreed  upon  is,  that  we  must  never  sow  without 
first  manuring  the  ground ;  although  in  this  respect  even  there 
are  certain  rules  to  be  observed.  Millet,  panic,  rape,  and  tur- 
nips should  never  be  sown  in  any  but  a  manured  soil.  If,  on 
the  other  hand,  the  land  is  not  manured,  sow  wheat  there  in 
preference  to  barley.  The  same,  too,  with  fallow  lands; 
though  in  these  it  is  generally  recommended  that  beans  should 
be  sown.  It  should  be  remembered,  however,  that  wherever 
beans  are  sown,  the  land  should  have  been  manured  at  as  re- 
cent a  period  as  possible.  If  it  is  intended  to  crop  ground  in 
autumn,  care  must  be  taken  to  plough  in  manure  in  the  month 
of  September,  just  after  rain  has  fallen.  In  the  same  way, 
too,  if  it  is  intended  to  sow  in  spring,  the  manure  should  be 
spread  in  the  winter.  It  is  the  rule  to  give  eighteen  cart-loads 
of  manure  to  each  jugerum,  and  to  spread  it  well  before 
ploughing  it  in,83  or  sowing  the  seed.84  If  this  manuring, 
however,  is  omitted,  it  will  be  requisite  to  spread  the  land 
with  aviary  dust  just  before  hoeing  is  commenced.  To  clear 
up  any  doubts  with  reference  to  this  point,  I  would  here  ob- 
serve that  the  fair  price  for  a  cart-load  of  manure  is  one 
denarius ;  where,  too,  sheep  furnish  one  cart-load,  the  larger 
cattle  should  furnish  ten  i85  unless  this  result  is  obtained,  it 
is  a  clear  proof  that  the  husbandman  has  littered  his  cattle 

There  are  some  persons  who  are  of  opinion  that  the  best 
method  of  manuring  land  is  to  pen  sheep  there,  with  nets 
erected  to  prevent  them  from  straying.  If  land  is  not  ma- 
nured, it  will  get  chilled  ;  but  if,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  over- 
manured,  it  becomes  burnt  up  :  it  is  a  much  better  plan,  too, 
to  manure  little  and  often  than  in  excess.  The  warmer  the 
soil  is  by  nature,  the  less  manure  it  requires. 


The  best  seed  of  all  is  that  which  is  of  the  last  year's  growth. 
That  which  is  two  years  old  is  inferior,  and  three  the  worst  of  all 

63  "  Ares"  seems  to  be  a  preferable  reading  to"  arescat,"  "  before  it  dries." 

84  Schneider,  upon  Columella,  B.  ii.  c.   15,  would  reject  these  words, 
and  they  certainly  appear  out  of  place. 

85  Pomsinet  would  supply  here  "  tricenis  diebus,"  "  in  thirty  days,"  from 
Columella,  B.  ii.  c.  15. 

70  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTOET.          [Book  XVIII. 

— beyond  that,  it  is  unproductive.86  The  same  definite  rule 
which  applies  to  one  kind  of  sx?ed  is  applicable  to  them  all : 
the  seed  which  falls  to  the  bottom87  on  the  threshing-floor, 
should  be  reserved  for  sowing,  for  being  the  most  weighty  it 
is  the  best  in  quality :  there  is  no  better  method,  in  ^  fact,  of 
ascertaining  its  quality.  The  grains  of  those  ears  which  have 
intervals  between  the  seed  should  be  rejected.  The  best  grain 
is  that  which  has  a  reddish  hue,88  and  which,  when  broken 
between  the  teeth,  presents  the  same89  colour ;  that  which  has 
more  white  within  is  of  inferior  quality.  It  is  a  well-known 
fact  that  some  lands  require  more  seed  than  others,  from  which 
circumstance  first  arose  a  superstition  that  exists  among  the 
peasantry  ;  it  is  their  belief  that  when  the  ground  demands  the 
seed  with  greater  avidity  than  usual,  it  is  famished,  and  devours 
the  grain.  It  is  consistent  with  reason  to  put  in  the  seed 
where  the  soil  is  humid  sooner  than  elsewhere,  to  prevent  the 
grain  from  rotting  in  the  rain  :  on  dry  spots  it  should  be  sown 
later,  and  just  before  the  fall  of  a  shower,  so  that  it  may  not 
have  to  lie  long  without  germinating  and  so  come  to  nothing. 
When  the  seed  is  put  in  early  it  should  be  sown  thick,  as  it  is 
a  considerable  time  before  it  germinates ;  but  when  it  is  put 
in  later,  it  should  be  sown  thinly,  to  prevent  it  from  being  suf- 
focated. There  is  a  certain  degree  of  skill,  too,  required  in 
scattering  the  seed  evenly ;  to  ensure  this,  the  hand  must  keep 
time90  with  the  step,  moving  always  with  the  right  foot. 
There  are  certain  persons,  also,  who  have  a  secret  method91  of 
their  own,  having  been  born92  with  a  happy  hand  which  im- 
parts fruitfulness  to  the  grain.  Care  should  be  taken  not  to 
sow  seed  in  a  warm  locality  which  has  been  grown  in  a  cold 

86  "  Sterile."  This  is  not  necessarily  the  case,  as  we  know  with  reference 
to  what  is  called  mummy  wheat,  the  seed  of  which  has  been  recovered 
at  different  times  from  the  Egyptian  tombs. 

87  The  threshing  floor  was  made  with  an  elevation  in  the  middle,  and 
the  sides  on  an  incline,  to  the  bottom  of  which  the  largest  grains  would 
be  the  most  likely  to  fall. 

88  "Far"  or  spelt  is  of  a  red  hue  in  the  exterior. 

89  This  appearance  is  no  longer  to  be  observed,  if,  indeed,  PHny  is  cor- 
rect :  all  kinds  of  corn  are  white  in  the  interior  of  the  grain. 

90  Hand-sowing  is  called  hy  the  French,  *'semer  a  la  volee." 

91  This  occult  or  mysterious  method  of  which  Pliny  speaks,   consists 
solely  of  what  we  should  call  a  "  happy  knack,"  which  some  men  have  of 
sowing  more  evenly  than  others. 

92  Sors  geniulis  atque  fecunda  est. 

Chap.  55.]    HOW  MUCH  GRAIN  REQUISITE  FOE  A  JUGERUM.       71 

one,  nor  should  the  produce  of  an  early  soil  be  sown  in  a  late 
one.  Those  who  give  advice  to  the  contrary  have  quite  mis- 
applied their  pains. 



^In  a  soil  of  middling  quality,  the  proper  proportion  of  seed 
is  five  modii  of  wheat  or  winter. wheat  to  the  jugerum,  ten  of 
spelt  or  of  seed- wheat — that  being  the  name  which  we  have 
mentioned94  as  being  given  to  one  kind  of  wheat — six  of 
barley,  one-fifth  more  of  beans  than  of  wheat,  twelve  of 
vetches,  three  of  chick-pease,  chicheling  vetches,  and  pease, 
ten  of  lupines,  three  of  lentils — (these  last,  however,  it  is  said, 
must  be  sown  with  dry  manure) — six  of  fitches,  six  of  fenu- 
greek, four  of  kidney-beans,  twenty  of  hay  grass,96  and  four 
sextarii  of  millet  and  panic.  Where  the  soil  is  rich,  the  pro- 
portion must  be  greater,  where  it  is  thin,  less.96 

There  is  another  distinction,  too,  to  be  made ;  where  the 
soil  is  dense,  cretaceous,  or  moist,  there  should  be  six  modii  of 
wheat  or  winter- wheat  to  the  jugerum,  but  where  the  land  is 
loose,  dry,  and  prolific,  four  will  be  enough.  A  meagre  soil, 
too,  if  the  crop  is  not  very  thinly  sown,  will  produce  a  dimi- 
nutive, empty  ear.  Rich  lands  give  a  number  of  stalks  to  each 
grain,  and  yield  a  thick  crop  from  only  a  light  sowing.  The 
result,  then,  is,  that  from  four  to  six  modii  must  be  sown, 
according  to  the  nature  of  the  soil ;  though  there  are  some 
who  make  it  a  rule  that  five  modii  is  the  proper  proportion  for 
sowing,  neither  more  nor  less,  whether  it  is  a  densely- plan  ted 
locality,  a  declivity,  or  a  thin,  meagre  soil.  To  this  subject 
bears  reference  an  oracular  precept  which  never  can  be  too 
carefully  observed97 — "  Don't  rob  the  harvest."98  Attius,  in  his 
Praxidicus,99  has  added  that  the  proper  time  for  sowing  is, 

93  This  Chapter  is  mostly  from  Columella,  B.  ii.  c.  9. 

94  In  c.  19  of  this  Book. 

95  Probably  the  mixture  called  "farrago  "  in  c.  10  and  c.  41. 

96  Upon  this  point  the  modern  agriculturists  are  by  no  means  agreed. 

97  From  Cato,  De  Re  Rust.  c.  5. 

98  "  Segetem  ne  defrudes."   The  former  editions  mostly  read  "  defruges," 
in  which  case  the  meaning  would  be,  "  don't  exhaust  the  land." 

99  This  passage  of  Attius  is  lost,  but  Hermann  supposes  his  words  to 
have  run  thus  : — 

serere,  cum  est 

Luna  in  Ariete,  Geminis,  Leone,  Libra,  Aquario. 

72  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 

when  the  moon  is  in  Aries,  Gemini,  Leo,  Libra,  and  Aquarius. 
Zoroaster  says  it  should  be  done  when  the  sun  has  passed  twelve 
degrees  of  Scorpio,  and  the  moon  is  in  Taurus. 


"We  now  come  to  a  subject  which  has  been  hitherto  deferred 
by  us,  and  which  requires  our  most  careful  attention — the 
proper  times  for  sowing.  This  is  a  question  that  depends  in 
a  very  great  degree  upon  the  stars ;  and  I  shall  therefore  make 
it  my  first  care  to  set  forth  all  the  opinions  that  have  been 
written  in  reference  to  the  subject.  Hesiod,  the  first  writer 
who  has  given  any  precepts  upon  agriculture,  speaks  of  one 
period  only  for  sowing — the  setting  of  the  Vergilise  :  but  then 
he  wrote  in  Boeotia,  a  country  of  Hellas,  where,  as  we  have 
already  stated,1  they  are  still  in  the  habit  of  sowing  at  that 

It  is  generally  agreed  by  the  most  correct  writers,  that  with 
the  earth,  as  with  the  birds  and  quadrupeds,  there  are  certain 
impulses  for  reproduction ;  and  the  epoch  for  this  is  fixed  by 
the  Greeks  at  the  time  when  the  earth  is  warm  and  moist. 
Virgil2  says  that  wheat  and  spelt  should  be  sown  at  the  setting 
.of  the  Vergiliae,  barley  between  the  autumnal  equinox  and 
the  winter  solstice,  and  vetches,3  kidney-beans,  and  lentils  at 
the  setting  of  Bootes  :4  it  is  of  great  importance,  therefore, 
to  ascertain  the  exact  days  of  the  rising  and  setting  of  these 
constellations,  as  well  as  of  the  others.  There  are  some,  again, 
who  recommend  the  sowing  to  be  done  before  the  setting  of 
the  Vergiliae,  but  only  in  a  dry  soil,  and  in  those  provinces 
where  the  weather  is  hot ;  for  the  seed,  they  say/  if  put  in  the 
ground  will  keep,  there  being  no  moisture  to  spoil  it,  and 
within  a  single  day  after  the  next  fall  of  rain,  will  make  its 
appearance  above  ground.  Others,  again,  are  of  opinion  that 
sowing  should  begin  about  seven  days  after  the  setting  of  the 
Vergiliae,  a  period  which  is  mostly  followed  by  rain.  Some 
think  that  cold  soils  should  be  sown  immediately  after  the 
autumnal  equinox,  and  a  warm  soil  later,  so  that  the  blade 
may  not  put  forth  too  luxuriantly  before  winter. 

It  is  universally  agreed,  however,  that  the  sowing  should 

1  In  c.  8  of  this  Book.  2  Georg.  i.  208. 

3  Georg.  i.  227  4  See  c.  74  of  this  Book. 

5  Columella,  B.  ii.  e.  8. 

Chap.  56.]  THE   PROPER   TIMES   FOR   SOWING.  73 

not  be  done  about  the  period  of  the  winter  solstice  ;  for  this 
very  good  reason — the  winter  seeds,  if  put  in  before  the 
winter  solstice,  will  make  their  appearance  above  ground  on 
the  seventh  day,  whereas,  if  they  are  sown  just  after  it,  they 
will  hardly  appear  by  the  fortieth.  There  are  some,  however, 
who  begin  very  early,  and  have  a  saying  to  justify  their  doing 
so,  to  the  effect  that  if  seed  sown  too  early  often  disappoints, 
seed  put  in  too  late  always  does  so.  On  the  other  hand,  again, 
there  are  some  who  maintain  that  it  is  better  to  sow  in 
spring  than  in  a  bad  autumn ;  and  they  say  that  if  they  find 
themselves  obliged  to  sow  in  spring,  they  would  choose  the 
period  that  intervenes  between  the  prevalence  of  the  west 
winds6  and  the  vernal  equinox.  Some  persons,  however,  take 
no  notice  of  the  celestial  phenomena,  and  only  regulate  their 
movements  by  the  months.  In  spring  they  put  in  flax,  the 
oat,  and  the  poppy,  up  to  the  feast  of  the  Quinquatria,7  as  we 
find  done  at  the  present  day  by  the  people  of  Italy  beyond  the 
Padus.  There,  too,  they  sow  beans  and  winter-wheat  in  the 
mouth  of  November,  and  spelt  at  the  end  of  September,  up 
to  the  ides  of  October  :8  others,  however,  sow  this  last  after 
the  ides  of  October,  as  late  as  the  calends  of  November.9 

The  persons  who  do  this  take  no  notice,  consequently,  of  the 
phenomena  of  Nature,  while  others,  again,  lay  too  much  stress 
upon  them,  and  hence,  by  these  refined  subtleties  and  dis- 
tinctions, only  add  to  their  blindness ;  for  here  are  ignorant 
rustics,  not  only  dealing  with  a  branch  of  learning,  but  that 
branch  astronomy  !  It  must  still,  however,  be  admitted  that 
the  observation  of  the  heavens  plays  a  very  important  part  in 
the  operations  of  agriculture  ;  and  Virgil,10  we  find,  gives  it  as 
his  advice,  that  before  any  thing  else,  we  should  learn  the 
theory  of  the  winds,  and  the  revolutions  of  the  stars ;  for,  as  he 
says,  the  agriculturist,  no  less  than  the  mariner,  should  regu- 
late his  movements  thereby.  It  is  an  arduous  attempt,  and 
almost  beyond  all  hope  of  success,  to  make  an  endeavour  to  in- 
troduce the  divine  science  of  the  heavens  to  the  uninformed 

8  Favonius.    See  B.  ii.  c.  47. 

7  The  five  days'  festival  in  honour  of  Minerva.      It  begins  on  the  four- 
teenth before  the  calends  of  April,  or  on  the  nineteenth  of  March.    Virgil, 
Georg.  i.  208,  says  that  flax  and  the  poppy  should  be  sown  in  autumn. 

8  Fifteenth  of  October  '     9  First  of  November. 
™.  Georg.  i.  204. 

74  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XVIII. 

•mind  of  the  rustic ;  still,  however,  with  a  view  to  such  vast 
practical  results  as  mast  be  derived  from  this  kind  of  know- 
ledge, I  shall  make  the  attempt.  There  are  some  astronomical 
difficulties,  however,  which  have  been  experienced  by  the 
learned  even,  that  ought  to  be  first  submitted  for  consideration, 
in  order  that  the  mind  may  feel  some  encouragement  on  aban- 
doning the  study  of  the  heavens,  and  may  be  acquainted  with 
facts  at  least,  even  though  it  is  still  unable  to  see  into  fu- 



In  the  first  place,  it  is  almost  an  utter  impossibility  to  cal- 
culate with  a  fair  degree  of  accuracy  the  days  of  the  year  and 
the  movements  of  the  sun.  To  the  three  hundred  and  sixty- 
five  days  there  are  still  to  be  added  the  intercalary  days,  the 
result  of  the  additional  quarters  of  a  day  and  night :  hence  it 
is,  that  it  is  found  impossible  to  ascertain  with  exactness  the 
proper  periods  for  the  appearance  of  the  stars.  To  this  we 
must  add,  too,  a  certain  degree  of  uncertainty  connected  with 
these  matters,  that  is  universally  admitted ;  thus,  for  instance, 
bad  and  wintry  weather  will  often  precede,  by  several  days, 
the  proper  period  for  the  advent  of  that  season,  a  state  of  things 
known  to  the  Greeks  as  ^pQ^s/fj^d^iv  ;n  while  at  another  time, 
it  will  last  longer  than  usual,  a  state  of  circumstances  known  as 
stfixsi/Adfyiv.12  The  effects,  too,  of  the  changes  that  take  place 
in  the  seasons  will  sometimes  be  felt  later,  and  at  other  times 
earlier,  upon  their  reaching  the  face  of  the  earth ;  and  we  not 
unfrequently  hear  the  remark  made,  upon  the  return  of  fine 
weather,  that  the  action  of  such  and  such  a  constellation  is 
now  completed.13  And  then,  again,  as  all  these  phsenomena  de- 
pend upon  certain  stars,  arranged  and  regulated  in  the  vault  of 
heaven,  we  find  intervening,  in  accordance  with  the  movements 
of  certain  stars,  hailstorms  and  showers,  themselves  productive 
of  no  slight  results,  as  we  have  already  observed,14  and  apt  to 
interfere  with  the  anticipated  regular  recurrence  of  the  seasons. 
Nor  are  we  to  suppose  that  these  disappointments  fall  upon  the 
human  race  only,  for  other  animated  beings,  as  well  as  ourselves^ 

11  "  To  be  an  early  winter."  12  "  To  be  a  long  winter.'* 

13  Confectum  sidus.  u  In  B.  xvii.  c.  2. 

Chap.  57.]  ARRANGEMENT  OF  THE  STARS.  75 

are  deceived  in  regard  to  them,  although  endowed  with  even  a 
greater  degree  of  sagacity  upon  these  points  than  we  are,  from 
the  fact  of  their  very  existence  depending  so  materially  upon 
them.  Hence  it  is,  that  we  sometimes  see  the  summer  birds 
killed  by  too  late  or  too  early  cold,  and  the  winter  birds  by 
heat  coming  out  of  the  usual  season.  It  is  for  this  reason, 
that  Yirgil 15  has  recommended  us  to  study  the  courses  of  the 
planets,  and  has  particularly  warned  us  to  watch  the  passage 
of  the  cold  star  Saturn. 

There  are  some  who  look  upon  the  appearance  of  the  butter- 
fly as  the  surest  sign  of  spring,  because  of  the  extreme  delicacy 
of  that  insect.  In  this  present  year,16  however,  in  which  I 
am  penning  these  lines,  it  has  been  remarked  that  the  flights 
of  butterflies  have  been  killed  three  several  times,  by  as  many 
returns  of  the  cold  ;  while  the  foreign  birds,  which  brought 
us  by  the  sixth  of  the  calends  of  February 17  every  indication 
of  an  early  spring,  after  that  had  to  struggle  against  a  winter 
of  the  greatest  severity.  In  treating  of  these  matters,  we  have 
to  meet  a  twofold  difficulty :  first  of  all,  we  have  to  ascertain 
whether  or  not  the  celestial  phenomena  are  regulated  by 
certain  laws,  and  then  we  have  to  seek  how  to  reconcile  those 
laws  with  apparent  facts.  We  must,  however,  be  more  par- 
ticularly careful  to  take  into  account  the  convexity  of  the  earth, 
and  the  differences  of  situation  in  the  localities  upon  the  face 
of  the  globe ;  for  hence  it  is,  that  the  same  constellation  shows 
itself  to  different  nations  at  different  times,  the  result  being, 
that  its  influence  is  by  no  means  perceptible  everywhere  at  the 
same  moment.  This  difficulty  has  been  considerably  enhanced, 
too,  by  various  authors,  who,  after  making  their  observations 
in  different  localities,  and  indeed,  in  some  instances,  in  the  same 
locality,  have  yet  given  us  varying  or  contradictory  results. 

There  have  been  three  great  schools  of  astronomy,  the  Chal- 
daean,  the  ^Egyptian,  and  the  Grecian.  To  these  has  been 
added  a  fourth  school,  which  was  established  by  the  Dictator 
Caesar  among  ourselves,  and  to  which  was  entrusted  the  duty 
of  regulating  the  year  in  conformity  with  the  sun's  revolution,18 
under  the  auspices  of  Sosigenes,  an  astronomer  of  considerable 
learning  and  skill.  His  theory,  too,  upon  the  discovery  of  cer- 
tain errors,  has  since  been  corrected,  no  intercalations  having 

15  Georg.  L  335.  16  A.TJ.C.  830. 

17  Twenty-seventh  of  January.  18  Ad  soils  cursum. 

76  PLINY'S  NATTTBAL  BISTORT.          [Book  XVIII. 

been  made  for  twelve 19  successive  years,  upon  its  being  found 
that  the  year  which  before  had  anticipated  the  constellations, 
was  now  beginning  to  fall  behind  them.  Even  Sosigenes  him- 
self, too,  though  more  correct  than  his  predecessors,  has  not 
hesitated  to  show,  by  his  continual  corrections  in  the  three 
several  treatises  which  he  composed,  that  he  still  entertained 
great  doubts  on  the  subject.  The  writers,  too,  whose  names  are 
inserted  at  the  beginning  of  this  work,20  have  sufficiently  re- 
vealed the  fact  of  these  discrepancies,  the  opinions  of  one  being 
rarely  found  to  agree  with  those  of  another.  This,  however, 
is  less  surprising  in  the  case  of  those  whose  plea  is  the  difference 
of  the  localities  in  which  they  wrote.  But  with  reference  to 
those  who,  though  living  in  the  same  country,  have  still  arrived 
at  different  results,  we  shall  here  mention  one  remarkable 
instance  of  discrepancy.  Hesiod — for  under  his  name,  also, 
we  have  a  treatise  extant  on  the  Science  of  the  Stars 21 — has 
stated  that  the  morning  setting  of  the  Yergilise  takes  place  at 
the  moment  of  the  autumnal  equinox;  whereas  Thales,  we 
find,  makes  it  the  twenty-fifth  day  after  the  equinox,  Anaxi- 
mander  the  twenty- ninth,  and  Euctemon  the  forty- eighth. 

As  for  ourselves,  we  shall  follow  the  calculations  made  by 
Julius  Caesar,22  which  bear  reference  more  particularly  to  Italy; 
though  at  the  same  time,  we  shall  set  forth  the  dicta  of  various 
other  writers,  bearing  in  mind  that  we  are  treating  not  of  an 
individual  country,  but  of  Nature  considered  in  her  totality, 
In  doing  this,  however,  we  shall  name,  not  the  writers  them- 
selves, for  that  would  be  too  lengthy  a  task,  but  the  countries 
in  reference  to  which  they  speak.  The  reader  must  bear  in 
mind,  then,  that  for  the  sake  of  saving  space,  under  the  head 
of  Attica,  we  include  the  islands  of  the  Cyclades  as  well ;  under 
that  of  Macedonia,  Magnesia  and  Thracia ;  under  that  of  Egypt, 

19  Soon  after  the  corrections  made  by  order  of  Julius  Caesar,  the  Pon- 
ti frees  mistook  the  proper  method  of  intercalation,  by  making   it  every 
third  year  instead  of  the  fourth ;    the  consequence  of   which  was,  that 
Augustus  was  obliged  to  correct  the  results  of  their  error  by  omitting  the 
intercalary  day  for  twelve  years. 

20  He  most  probably  refers  to  the  list  of  writers  originally  appended  to 
the  First  Book ;  but  which  in  the  present  Translation  is  distributed  at  the 
end  of  each  Book.     For  the  list  of  astronomical  writers  here  referred  to, 
see  the  end  of  the  present  Book. 

21  Or  'AffTpiKrj  fli(3\QQ.     It  is  now  lost. 

.    22  In  his  work  mentioned  at  the  end  of  this  Book.     It  is  now  lost. 

Chap.  58.]      THE  EISING  AND  SETTING  OF  THE  STABS.  77 

Phosnice,  Cyprus,  and  Cilicia ;  under  that  of  Bceotia,  Locris, 
Phocis,  and  the  adjoining  countries  ;  under  that  of  Hellespont, 
Chersonesus,  and  the  contiguous  parts  as  far  as  Mount  Athos ; 
under  that  of  Ionia,  Asia 23  and  the  islands  of  Asia  ;  under  that 
of  Peloponnesus,  Achaia,  and  the  regions  lying  to  the  west  of 
it.  Chalda3a,  when  mentioned,  will  signify  Assyria  and  Baby- 
lonia, as  well. 

My  silence  as  to  Africa,24  Spain,  and  the  provinces  of  Gaul, 
will  occasion  no  surprise,  from  the  fact  that  no  one  has  pub- 
lished any  observations  made  upon  the  stars  in  those  countries. 
Still,  however,  there  will  be  no  difficulty  in  calculating  them, 
even  for  these  regions  as  well,  on  reference  being  made  to  the 
parallels  which  have  been  set  forth  in  the  Sixth  Book.25  By 
adopting  this  course,  an  accurate  acquaintance  may  be  made 
with  the  astronomical  relations,  not  only  of  individual  nations, 
but  of  cities  even  as  well.  By  taking  the  circular  parallels 
which  we  have  there  appended  to  the  several  portions  of  the 
earth  respectively,  and  applying  them  to  the  countries  in  ques- 
tion, that  are  similarly  situate,  it  will  be  found  that  the  rising 
of  the  heavenly  bodies  will  be  the  same  for  all  parts  within 
those  parallels,  where  the  shadows  projected  are  of  equal  length. 
It  is  also  deserving  of  remark,  that  the  seasons  have  their 
periodical  recurrences,  without  any  marked  difference,  every 
four  years,  in  consequence  of  the  influence  M  of  the  sun,  and  that 
the  characteristics  of  the  seasons  are  developed  in  excess  every 
eighth  year,  at  the  revolution  of  every  hundredth  moon. 

CHAP.    58. — THE    B1SING   AND    SETTING    OF   THE    STABS. 

The  whole  of  this  system  is  based  upon  the  observation  of 
three  branches  of  the  heavenly  phenomena,  the  rising  of  the 
constellations,  their  setting,  and  the  regular  recurrence  of  the 
seasons.  These  risings  and  settings  may  be  observed  in  two 
different  ways  : — The  stars  are  either  concealed,  and  cease  to 
be  seen  at  the  rising  of  the  sun,  or  else  present  themselves  to 
our  view  at  his  setting — this  last  being  more  generally  known 
by  the  name  of  "  emersion  "  than  of  "  rising, "  while  their  dis- 

23  I,  e.  Asia  Minor. 

24  /.  e.  the  north-west  parts  of  Africa. 

25  See  c.  39  of  that  Book. 

26  "  Ratione  solis."     This  theory  of  the  succession  of  changes  every  four 
years,  was  promulgated  by  Eudoxus      See  B.  ii.  c.  48. 


appearance  is  rather  an  "  occultation  "  than  a  "  setting." — 
Considered,  again,  in  another  point  of  view,  when  upon  cer- 
tain days  they  begin  to  appear  or  disappear,  at  the  setting 
or  the  rising  of  the  sun,  as  the  case  may  be,  these  are  called 
their  morning  or  their  evening  settings  or  risings,  according 
as  each  of  these  phaenomena  takes  place  at  day-break  or  twilight. 
It  requires  an  interval  of  three  quarters  of  an  hour  at  least  be- 
fore the  rising  of  the  sun  or  after  his  setting,  for  the  stars  to 
be  visible  to  us.  In  addition  to  this,  there  are  certain  stars 
which  rise  and  set  twice.27  All  that  we  here  state  bears  refer- 
ence, it  must  be  remembered,  to  the  fixed  stars  only. 

CHAP.    59. THE    EPOCHS    OF    THE    SEASONS. 

The  year  is  divided  into  four  periods  or  seasons,  the  recurrence 
of  which  is  indicated  by  the  increase  or  diminution  of  the 
daylight.  Immediately  after  the  winter  solstice  the  days  begin 
to  increase,  and  by  the  time  of  the  vernal  equinox,  or  in  other 
words,  in  ninety  days  and  three  hours,  the  day  is  equal  in 
length  to  the  night,  After  this,  for  ninety- four  days  and 
twelve  hours,  the  days  continue  to  increase,  and  the  nights  to 
diminish  in  proportion,  up  to  the  summer  solstice  ;  and  from 
that  point  the  days,  though  gradually  decreasing,  are  still  in 
excess  of  the  nights  for  ninety-two  days,  twelve  hours,  until  the 
autumnal  equinox.  At  this  period  the  days  are  of  equal 
length  with  the  nights,  and  after  it  they  continue  to  decrease 
inversely  to  the  nights  until  the  winter  solstice,  a  period 
of  eighty-eight  days  and  three  hours.  In  all  ,these  calcu- 
lations, it  must  be  remembered,  equinoctial28  hours  are  spoken 
of,  and  not  those  measured  arbitrarily  in  reference  to  the 
length  of  any  one  day  in  particular.  All  these  seasons,  too, 
commence  at  the  eighth  degree  of  the  signs  of  the  Zodiac. 
The  winter  solstice  begins  at  the  eighth  degree  of  Capricorn, 
the  eighth29  day  before  the  calends  of  January,  in  general  ;30  the 
vernal  equinox  at  the  eighth  degree  of  Aries ;  the  summer 
solstice,  at  the  eighth  degree  of  Cancer ;  and  the  autumnal 
equinox  at  the  eighth  degree  of  Libra :  and  it  is  rarely  that 

27  See  c.  69,  as  to  Arcturus  and  Aquila. 

28  He  speaks  of  Equinoctial  hours,  these  being  in  all  cases  of  the  same 
length,  in  contradistinction  to  the  Temporal,   or  Unequal  hours,  which 
with  the  Romans  were  a  twelfth  part  of  the  Natural  day,  from  sunrise  to 
sunset,  and  of  course  were  continually  varying. 

29  Twenty-fifth  of  December.  30  Fere. 

Chap.  60. ]      THE  PROPER  TIME  FOE  WINTER  SOWING.  79 

these  days  do  not  respectively  give  some  indication  of  a  change 
in  the  weather. 

These  four  seasons  again,  are  subdivided,  each  of  them,  into 
two  equal  parts.  Thus,  for  instance,  between  the  summer 
solstice  and  the  autumnal  equinox,  the  setting  of  the  Lyre,31 
on  the  forty-sixth  day,  indicates  the  beginning  of  autumn ;  be- 
tween the  autumnal  equinox  and  the  winter  solstice,  the  morn- 
ing setting  of  the  Vergiliae,  on  the  forty-fourth  day,  denotes 
the  beginning  of  winter ;  between  the  winter  solstice  and  the 
vernal  equinox,  the  prevalence  of  the  west  winds  on  the  forty- 
fifth  day,  denotes  the  commencement  of  spring  ;  and  between 
the  vernal  equinox  and  the  summer  solstice,  the  morning  rising 
of  the  Vergilise,  on  the  forty-eighth  day,  announces  the  com- 
mencement of  summer.  We  shall  here  make  seed-time,  or  in 
other  words,  the  morning  setting  of  the  Yergilise,  our  starting- 
point  ;32  and  shall  not  interrupt  the  thread  of  our  explanation 
by  making  any  mention  of  the  minor  constellations,  as  such  a 
course  would  only  augment  the  difficulties  that  already  exist. 
It  is  much  about  this  period  that  the  stormy  constellation  of 
Orion  departs,  after  traversing  a  large  portion  of  the  heavens.35 


Most  persons  anticipate  the  proper  time  for  sowing,  and  be- 
gin  to  put  in  the  corn  immediately  after  the  eleventh  day  of 
the  autumnal  equinox,  at  the  rising  of  the  Crown,  when  we 
may  reckon,  almost  to  a  certainty,  upon  several  days  of  rainy 
weather  in  succession.  Xenophon34  is  of  opinion,  that  sowing 
should  not  be  commenced  until  the  Deity  has  given  us  the 
signal  for  it,  a  term  by  which  Cicero  understands  the  rains  that 
prevail  in  November.  The  true  method  to  be  adopted,  how- 
ever, is  not  to  sow  until  the  leaves  begin  to  fall.  Some  per- 
sons are  of  opinion  that  this  takes  place  at  the  setting  of  the 

31  In  this  Translation,  the  names  of  the  Constellations  are  given  in 
English,  except  in  the  case  of  the  signs  of  the  Zodiac,  which  are  univer- 
sally known  by  their  Latin  appellations. 

33  He  begins  in  c.  64,  at  the  winter  solstice,  and  omits  the  period  be- 
tween the  eleventh  of  November  and  the  winter  solstice  altogether,  so  far 
as  the  mention  of  individual  days. 

33  "  Cumsidusvehemens  Orionis  iisdem  diebus  longo  decedat  spatio." 
This  passage  is  apparently  unintelligible,  if  considered,  as  Sillig  reads 
it,  as  dependent  on  the  preceding  one. 

34  In  his  (Economica. 


Vergiliae,  or  the  third  day  before  the  ides  of  November,  as 
already  stated,35  and  they  carefully  observe  it,  for  it  is  a  con- 
stellation very  easily  remarked  in  the  heavens,  and  warns  us 
to  resume  our  winter  clothes.36  Hence  it  is,  that  immediately 
on  its  setting,  the  approach  of  winter  is  expected,  and  care  is 
taken  by  those  who  are  on  their  guard  against  the  exorbitant 
charges  of  the  shop-keepers,  to  provide  themselves  with  an 
appropriate  dress.  If  the  Vergilise  set  with  cloudy  weather, 
it  forebodes  a  rainy  winter,  and  the  prices  of  cloaks37  imme- 
diately rise ;  but  if,  on  the  other  hand,  the  weather  is  clear  at 
that  period,  a  sharp  winter  is  to  be  expected,  and  then  the 
price  of  garments  of  other  descriptions  is  sure  to  go  up.  But 
as  to  the  husbandman,  unacquainted  as  he  is  with  the  phse- 
nomena  of  the  heavens,  his  brambles  are  to  him  in  place  of 
constellations,  and  if  he  looks  at  the  ground  he  sees  it  covered 
with  their  leaves.  This  fall  of  the  leaves,  earlier  in  one  place 
and  later  in  another,  is  a  sure  criterion  of  the  temperature  of 
the  weather ;  for  there  is  a  great  affinity  between  the  effects 
produced  by  the  weather  in  this  respect,  and  the  nature  of  the 
soil  and  climate.  There  is  this  peculiar  advantage,  too,  in  the 
careful  observation  of  these  effects,  that  they  are  sure  to  be 
perceptible  throughout  the  whole  earth,  while  at  the  same  time 
they  have  certain  features  which  are  peculiar  to  each  individual 
locality. — A  person  may  perhaps  be  surprised  at  this,  who  does 
not  bear  in  mind  that  the  herb  pennyroyal,38  which  is  hung  up 
in  our  larders,  always  blossoms  on  the  day  of  the  winter  sol- 
stice ;  so  firmly  resolved  is  Nature  that  nothing  shall  remain 
concealed  from  us,  and  in  that  spirit  has  given  us  the  fall  of 
the  leaf  as  the  signal  for  sowing. 

Such  is  the  true  method  of  interpreting  all  these  phenomena, 
granted  to  us  by  Nature  as  a  manifestation  of  her  will.  It 
is  in  this  way  that  she  warns  us  to  prepare  the  ground,  makes 
us  a  promise  of  a  manure,  as  it  were,  in  the  fall  of  the  leaves, 
announces  to  us  that  the  earth  and  the  productions  thereof  are 
thus  protected  by  her  against  the  cold,  and  warns  us  to  hasten 
the  operations  of  agriculture. 

35  In  B.  ii.  c.  47. 

36  "  Vestis  institor  est."     This  passage  is  probably  imperfect. 

87  "  Lacemarum."  5*  "Puleium."     See  B.  ii.  c.  41. 

Chap.  62.]  WORK    FOE   EACH    MONTH.  81 

CHAP.    61. WHEN     TO     SOW    THE    LEGUMINOUS    PLANTS    AND    THK 


Varro39  has  given  no  other  sign  but  this40  for  our  guidance 
in  sowing  the  bean-  Some  persons  are  of  opinion  that  it  should 
be  sown  at  full  moon,  the  lentil  between  the  twenty-fifth  and 
thirtieth  day  of  the  moon,  and  the  vetch  on  the  same  days  of 
the  moon  ;  and  they  assure  us  that  if  this  is  done  they  will  be 
exempt  from  the  attacks  of  slugs.  Some  say,  however,  that 
if  wanted  for  fodder,  they  may  be  sown  at  these  periods,  but 
if  for  seed,  in  the  spring.  There  is  another  sign,  more  evident 
still,  supplied  us  by  the  marvellous  foresight  of  Nature,  with 
reference  to  which  we  will  give  the  words  employed  by  Cicero41 
liiinself : 

"  The  lentisk,  ever  green  and  ever  bent 
Beneath  its  fruits,  affords  a  threefold  crop : 
Tiiriee  teeming,  thrice  it  warns  us  when  to  plough." 

One  of  the  periods  here  alluded  to,  is  the  same  that  is  now 
under  consideration,  being  the  appropriate  time  also  for  sowing 
flax  and  the  poppy.42  With  reference  to  this  last,  Cato  gives  the 
folio  wing  ad  vice  :  ''Burn,  upon  land  where  corn  has  been  grown, 
the  twigs  and  branches  which  are  of  no  use  to  you,  and  when 
that  is  done,  sow  the  poppy  there."  The  wild  poppy,  which 
is  of  an  utility  that  is  quite  marvellous,  is  boiled  in  honey  as  a 
remedy  for  diseases  in  the  throat,43  while  the  cultivated  kind  is 
a  powerful  narcotic.  Thus  much  in  reference  to  winter  sowing. 

CHAP.    62. — WOHK    TO    BE    DONE    IN    TUB    COUNTRY    IN    EACH 

And  now,  in  order  to  complete  what  we  may  call  in  some 
measure  an  abridgment  of  the  operations  of  agriculture,  it  is  as 
well  to  add  that  it  will  be  a  good  plan  at  the  same  period  to 
manure  the  roots  of  trees,  and  to  mould  up  the  vines — a  single 
hand  being  sufficient  for  one  jugerum.  Where,  too,  the  nature 
of  the  locality  will  allow  it,  the  vines,  and  the  trees  upon  which 
they  are  trained,  should  be  lopped,  and  the  soil  turned  up  with 

3'J  De  Re  Rust.  i.  34.  40  The  setting  of  the  Vergiliae. 

41  De  Divinat.  B.  i.  c.  15.     They  are  a  translation  from  Aratus, 

42  De  Re  Rust.  c.  38.      Pliny  has  said  above,  that  flax  and  the  poppy 
should  be  sown  in  the  spring. 

43  The  Papaver  Rhceas  oi'  Linnaeus  is  still  used  for  affections  of  the 

VOL.    IT.  & 


the  mattock  for  seed  plots ;  trenches,  too,  should  be  opened  out, 
and  the  water  drained  from  off  the  fields,  and  the  presses44 
should  be  well  washed  and  put  away.  Never  put  eggs  beneath 
the  hen  between  the  calends  of  November45  and  the  winter 
solstice  :46  during  all  the  summer  and  up  to  the  calends  of  No- 
vember, you  may  put  thirteen  under  the  hen  ;  but  the  number 
must  be  smaller  in  winter,  not  less  than  nine,  however. 
Democritus  is  of  opinion,  that  the  winter  will  turn  out  of  the 
same  character47  as  the  weather  on  the  day  of  the  winter  sol- 
stice and  the  three  succeeding  days  ;  the  same  too  with  the 
summer  and  the  weather  at  the  summer  solstice.  About  the 
winter  solstice,  for  about  twice  seven  days  mostly,  while  the 
halcyon48  is  sitting,  the  winds  are  lulled,  and  the  weather 
serene;49  but  in  this  case,  as  in  all  others,  the  influence  of  the 
stars  must  only  be  judged  of  b}r  the  result,  and  we  must  not 
expect  the  changes  of  the  weather,  as  if  out  upon  their  recog- 
nizances,50 to  make  their  appearance  exactly  on  certain  prede- 
termined days. 

CHAP.    63. WORK    TO    BE    DONE    AT    THE    WINTER    SOLSTICE. 

Be  careful  never  to  touch  the  vine  at  the  winter  solstice. 
Hyginus  recommends  us  to  strain  and  even  rack-off  wrine  at 
the  seventh  day  after  the  winter  solstice,  provided  the  moon  is 
seven  days  old.  About  this  period,  also,  the  cherry-tree,  he 
sa)rs,  should  be  planted.  Acorns,  too,  should  now  be  put  in 
soak  for  the  oxen,  a  modius  for  each  pair.  If  given  in  larger 
quantities,  this  food  will  prove  injurious  to  their  health;  and 
whenever  it  is  given,  if  they  are  fed  with  it  for  less  than  thirty 
days  in  succession,  an  attack  of  scab  in  the  spring,  it  is  said, 
will  be  sure  to  make  you  repent. 

This,  too,  is  the  period  that  we  have  already  assigned51  for 
.cutting  timber — other  kinds  of  work,  again,  may  be  found  for 
the  hours  of  the  night,  which  are  then  so  greatly  prolonged. 
There  are  baskets,  hurdles,  and  panniers  to  be  woven,  and  wood 

44  For  the  grape  and  the  olive.  45  First  of  November. 

43  In  the  more  northern  climates  this  is  never  done  till  the  spring. 
17  This  is  merely  imaginary. 

43  Or  king- fisher.  It  was  a  general  belief  that  this  bird  incubated  on 
the  surface  of  the  ocean. 

19  Hence  the  expression.  "Halcyon  days." 

50  Vadimonia.  51  In  !>.  xvi.  c.  74. 

Chap.  64.]  WORK   FOB,   WINTER.  83 

to  be  cut  for  torches :  squared  stays 52  for  the  vine  may  be  pre- 
pared, too,  thirty  in  tho  day  time,  and  if  rounded,33  as  many  as 
sixty.  In  the  long  hours  of  the  evening,  too,  some  five  squared 
stays,  or  ten  rounded  ones  may  be  got  ready,  and  the  same 
number  while  the  day  is  breaking. 


Between  the  winter  solstice  and  the  period  when  the  west 
winds  begin  to  prevail,  the  following,  according  to  Caesar,  are  the 
more  important  signs  afforded  by  the  constellations  :  the  Dog 
sets  in  the  morning,  upon  the  third54  day  before  the  calends  of 
January ;  a  day  on  the  evening  of  which  the  Eagle  sets  to  tho 
people  of  Attica  and  the  adjoining  countries.  On  the  day  be- 
fore55 the  nones  of  January,  according  to  Caesar's  computation, 
the  Dolphin  rises  in  the  morning,  and  on  the  next  day,  tho 
Lyre,  upon  the  evening  of  which  the  Arrow  sets  to  the  peo- 
ple of  Egypt.  Upon  the  sixth56  day  before  the  ides  of  Janu- 
ary, the  Dolphin  sets  in  the  evening,  and  Italy  has  many  days 
of  continuous  cold ;  the  same  is  the  case  also  when  the  sun 
enters  Aquarius,  about  the  sixteenth57  day  before  the  calends  of 
February.  On  the  eighth58  before  the  calends  of  February,  tho 
star  which  Tubero  calls  the  Royal  Star59  sets  in  the  morning  in 
the  breast  of  Leo,  and  in  the  evening  of  the  day  before60  tho 
nones  of  February,  the  Lyre  sets. 

During  the  latter  days  of  this  period,  whenever  the  nature 
of  the  weather  will  allow  of  it,  the  ground  should  be  turned 
u p  with  a  double  mattock,  for  planting  the  rose  and  the  vine 
— sixty  men  to  a  jugerum.  Ditches,  too,  should  be  cleaned 
out,  or  new  ones  made ;  and  the  time  of  day-break  may  be  use- 
fully employed  in  sharpening  iron  tools,  fitting  on  handles,  re- 
pairing such  dolia61  as  may  have  been  broken,  and  rubbing  up 
and  cleaning  their  staves. 

52  "Ridicas."  53  "  Palos." 

54  Thirtieth  of  December.  According  to  the  Roman  reckoning,  the  third 
day  would  be  the  day  but  one  before. 

55  Fourth  of  January.  66  Eighth  of  January. 

57  Seventeenth  of  January.        58  Twenty-fifth  of  January. 

59  "  Regia  Stella."  m  Fourth  of  February- 

61  Or  wine- vats ;  by  the  use  of  the  word    "  lamina*,"  he  seems  to  he 

speaking  not  of  the   ordinary  earthen  dolia,  but  the  w<  oden  ones  used  in 

Gaul  and  the  north  of  Italy, 

a   2 

8i  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII. 



Between  the  prevalence  of  the  west  winds  and  the  vernal 
equinox,  the  fourteenth  day  before62  the  calends  of  March,  ac- 
cording to  Caesar,  announces  three  days  of  changeable  weather  ; 
the  same  is  the  case,  too,  with  the  eighth63  before  the  calends 
of  March,  at  the  first  appearance  of  the  swallow,  Arcturus 
rising  on  the  evening  of  the  next  day.  CaBsar  has  observed, 
that  the  same  takes  place  on  the  third64  before  the  nones  of 
March,  at  the  rising  of  Cancer;  and  most  authorities  say  the  same 
with  reference  to  the  emersion  of  the  Vintager.65  On  the  eighth66 
before  the  ides  of  March,  the  northern  lirnb  of  Pisces67  rises, 
and  on  the  next  day  Orion,  at  which  period  also,  in  Attica,  the 
Ivite  is  first  seen.  Caesar  has  noted,  too,  the  setting  of  Scorpio 
on  the  ides  of  March,68  a  day  that  was  so  fatal  to  him ;  and  on 
the  fifteenth69  before  the  calends  of  April,  the  Kite  appears  in 
Italy.  On  the  twelfth70  before  the  calends  of  April,  the  Horse 
sets  in  the  morning. 

This  interval  of  time  is  a  period  of  extreme  activity  for  the 
agriculturist,  and  affords  him  a  great  number  of  occupations, 
in  reference  to  which,  however,  he  is  extremely  liable  to  be  de- 
ceived. He  is  summoned  to  the  commencement  of  these 
labours,  not  upon  the  day  on  which  the  west  winds  ought  to 
begin,  but  upon  the  day  on  which  they  really  do  begin,  to  blow. 
This  moment  then  must  be  looked  for  with  the  most  careful 
attention,  as  it  is  a  signal  which  the  Deity  has  vouchsafed  us 
in  this  month,  attended  with  no  doubts  or  equivocations,  if 
only  looked  for  with  scrupulous  care.  We  have. already  stated 
in  the  Second  Book,71  the  quarter  in  which  this  wind  blown, 
and  the  exact  point  from  which  it  comes,  and  before  long  we 
shall  have  occasion  to  speak  of  it  again  still  more  in  detail. 

In  the  mean  time,  however,  setting  out  from  the  day,  what- 

"2  Sixteenth  of  February.          63  Twenty-second  of  February. 
«4  Fifth  of  March. 

65  On  the  fifth  of  March,  Ovid  says,  Fasti,  iii.  1. 407.     Columclla  makes 
it  rise  on  the  sixth  of  the  nones,  or  the  second  of  March. 
*»  Eighth  of  March. 

67  Or,  more  literally,  the  "Northern  Fish." 

68  Fifteenth  of  March,  the  day  on  which  he  was  assassinated  ,  in  accord- 
ance, it  is  said,  with  the  prophecy  of  a  diviner,    who  had  warned  him  to 
bo  ware  of  the  ides  of  March. 

69  Eighteenth  of  March.  7°  Twenty-first  of  March. 
71  In  c.  46  and  c.  47. 

Chap.  65.]  WOliK  FOE  WINTER.  85 

ever  it  may  happen  to  be,  on  which  the  west  winds  begin  to 
prevail  (for  it  is  not  always  on  the  seventh  before  the  ides  of 
February 72  that  they  do  begin),  whether,  in  fact,  they  begin 
to  blow  before  the  usual  time,  as  is  the  case  with  an  early 
spring,  or  whether  after,  which  generally  happens  when  the 
winter  is  prolonged — there  are  subjects  innumerable  to  engage 
the  attention  of  the  agriculturist,  and  those,  of  course,  should 
be  the  first  attended  to,  which  will  admit  of  no  delay.  Three 
month  wheat  must  now  be  sown,  the  vine  pruned  in  the  way 
we  have  already"  described,  the  olive  carefully  attended  to, 
fruit-trees  put  in  and  grafted,  vineyards  cleaned  and  hoed, 
seedlings  laid  out,  and  replaced  in  the  nursery  by  others,  the 
reed,  the  willow,  and  the  broom  planted  and  lopped,  and  the 
elm,  the  poplar,  and  the  plane  planted  in  manner  already  men- 
tioned. At  this  period,  also,  the  crops  of  corn  ought  to  be 
weeded,74  and  the  winter  kinds,  spelt  more  particularly,  well 
hoed.  In  doing  this,  there  is  a  certain  rule  to  be  observed,  the 
proper  moment  being  when  four  blades  have  made  their  appear- 
ance, and  with  the  bean  this  should  never  be  done  until  three- 
leaves  have  appeared  above  ground  ;  even  then,  however,  it  is  a 
better  plan  to  clean  them  onl}r  with  a  slight  hoeing,  in  preference 
to  digging  up  the  ground — but  in  no  case  should  they  ever  be 
touched  the  first  fifteen  days  of  their  blossom.  Barley  must 
never  be  hoed  except  when  it  is  quite  dry  :  take  care,  too,  to 
have  all  the  pruning  done  by  the  vernal  equinox.  Four  men 
will  be  sufficient  for  pruning  a  jugerum  of  vineyard,  and  each 
hand  will  be  able  to  train  fifteen  vines  to  their  trees.75 

At  this  period,  too,  attention  should  be  paid  to  the  gardens 
and  rose- beds,  subjects  which  will  be  separately  treated  of  in 
succeeding  Books;  due  care  should  be  given  to  ornamental 
gardening  as  well.  It  is  now,  too,  the  very  best  time  for 
making  ditches.  The  ground  should  now  be  opened  for  future 
purposes,  as  we  find  recommended  by  Virgil76  in  particular, 
in  order  that  the  sun  may  thoroughly  warm  the  clods.  It  is  a 
piece  of  even  more  sound  advice,  which  recommends  us  to 
plough  no  lands  in  the  middle  of  spring  but  those  of  mid- 
dling quality ;  for  if  this  is  done  with  a  rich  soil,  we$  ds  will  be 
sure  to  spring  up  in  the  furrows  immediately ;  and  if,  on  the 

™  Seventh  of  February.  73  In  B.  xvii.  c.  35. 

74  Fee  approves  of  this  method  of  weeding  before  the  corn  is  in  ear. 

75  In  a  day,  probably.  76  Georg.  i.  63. 

86  FLINT'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XVIII. 

other  hand,  it  is  a  thin,  meagre  land,  as  soon  as  the  heat  comes 
on,  it  will  be  dried  up,  and  so  lose  all  the  moisture  which 
should  he  reserved  to  nourish  the  seed  when  sown.  It  is  a  much 
better  plan,  beyond  a  doubt,  to  plough  such  soils  as  these  in 

Cato 77  lays  down  the  following  rules  for  the  operations  of 
spring.  "  Ditches,"  he  says,  "should  be  dug  in  the  seed- 
plots,  vines  should  be  grafted,  and  the  elm,  the  fig,  the  olive, 
and  other  fruit-trees  planted  in  dense  and  humid  soils.  Such 
meadows 7S  as  are  not  irrigated,  must  be  manured  in  a  dry 
moon,  protected  from  the  western  blasts,  and  carefully  cleaned  ; 
noxious  weeds  must  be  rooted  up,  fig-trees  cleared,  new  seed- 
plots  made,  and  the  old  ones  dressed  :  all  this  should  be  done 
before  you  begin  to  hoe  the  vineyard.  When  the  pear  is  in. 
blossom,  too,  you  should  begin  to  plough,  where  it  is  a  meagre, 
gravelly  soil.  When  you  have  done  all  this,  you  may  plough 
the  more  heavy,  watery  soils,  doing  this  the  last  of  all." 

The  proper  time  for  ploughing,  then,79  is  denoted  by  these 
two  signs,  the  earliest  fruit  of  the  lentisk  80  making  its  appear- 
ance, and  the  blossoming  of  the  pear.  There  is  a  third  sign, 
however,  as  well,  the  flowering  of  the  squill  among  the  bul- 
bous,81 and  of  the  narcissus  among  the  garland,  plants.  For 
both  the  squill  and  the  narcissus,  as  well  as  the  lentisk,  flower 
three  times,  denoting  by  their  first  flowering  the  first  period 
for  ploughing,  by  the  second  flowering  the  second,  and  by  the 
third  flowering  the  last ;  in  this  way  it  is  that  one  thing  affords 
hints  for  another.  There  is  one  precaution,  too,  that  is  by  no 
means  the  least  important  among  them  all,  not  to  let  ivy  touch 
the  bean  while  in  blossom;  for  at  this  period  the  ivy  is  noxious82 
to  it,  and  most  baneful  in  its  effects.  Some  plants,  again, 
afford  certain  signs  which  bear  reference  more  particularly  to 
themselves,  the  fig  for  instance  ;  when  a  few  leaves  only  are 
found  shooting  from  the  summit,  like  a  cup  in  shape,  then  it  is 
more  particularly  that  the  fig-tree  should  be  planted. 


The  vernal  equinox  appears  to  end  on  the  eighth  &  day  be- 

77  De  Re  Rust.  40.  7S  See  B.  xvii.  c.  8. 

79  Alluding  to  his  quotation  from  Cicero  in  c,  61. 
feo  Or  mastich.  si  gee  c<  7  Of  this  Book. 

S2  It  is  not  known  whence  he  derived  this  unfounded  notion. 
83  Twenty -fifth  of  March. 

Cliap.  66.]  THE   YE11NAL   EQUINOX.  87 

fore  the  calends  of  April.  Between  the  equinox  and  the 
morning  rising  of  the  Vergiliae,  the  calends 84  of  April  announce, 
according  to  Caesar,  [stormy  weather].84  Upon  the  third b6 
before  the  nones  of  April,  the  Yergiliae  set  in  the  evening 
in  Attica,  and  the  day  after  in  Bceotia,  but  according  to  Caesar 
and  the  Chaldaeans,  upon  the  nones.87  In  Egypt,  at  this  time, 
Orion  and  his  Sword  begin  to  set.  According  to  Caesar,  the 
setting  of  Libra  on  the  sixth  before w  the  ides  of  April  an- 
nounces rain.  On  the  fourteenth  before89  the  calends  of  May, 
the  Suculae  set  to  the  people  of  Egypt  in  the  evening,  a  stormy 
constellation,  and  significant  of  tempests  both  by  land  and  sea. 
This  constellation  sets  on  the  sixteenth90  in  Attica,  and  on  the 
fifteenth,  according  to  Caesar,  announcing  four  days  of  bad 
weather  in  succession  :  in  Assyria  it  sets  upon  the  twelfth 91 
before  the  calends  of  May.  This  constellation  has  ordinarily  the 
name  of  Parilicium,  from  the  circumstance  that  the  eleventh 92 
before  the  calends  of  May  is  observed  as  the  natal  day  of  the 
City  of  Eome ;  upon  this  day,  too,  fine  weather  generally  re- 
turns, and  gives  us  a  clear  sky  for  our  observations.  The 
Greeks  call  the  Suculae  by  the  name  of  "  Hyades,"93  in  conse- 
quence of  the  rain  and  clouds  which  they  bring  with  them ; 
while  our  people,  misled  by  the  resemblance  of  the  Greek  name 
to  another  word94  of  theirs,  meaning  a  "pig,"  have  imagined 
that  the  constellation  receives  its  name  from  that  word,  and 
have  consequently  given  it,  in  their  ignorance,  the  name  of 
"Suculae,"  or  the  "Little  Pigs." 

In  the  calculations  made  by  Caesar,  the  eighth  96  before  the 
calends  of  May  is  a  day  remarked,  and  on  the  seventh 96  before 
the  calends,  the  constellation  of  the  Kids  rises  in  Egypt.  On 
the  sixth  before 97  the  calends,  the  Dog  sets  in  the  evening  in 
Bceotia  and  Attica,  and  the  Lyre  rises  in  the  morning.  On 
the  fifth  98  before  the  calends  of  May,  Orion  has  wholly  set 

84  First  of  April. 

85  This  passage  is  omitted  in  the  original,  but  was  probably  left  out  by 

86  Third  of  April.  87  Fifth  of  April. 

88  Eighth  of  April.  89  Eighteenth  of  Apr  1. 

90  Sixteenth  of  April.  91  Twentieth  of  Apr.l. 

9-  Twenty-first  of  April.     See  B.  xix.  e.  24. 

93  From  vav,  to  rain.  94  "  Sus,"  a  pig. 

95  Twenty-fourth  of  April.  96  Twenty-fifth  of  April. 

97  Twenty-sixth  of  April.  98  Twenty-seventh  of  April. 

83  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XVIII, 

to  the  people  of  Assyria,  and  on  the  fourth  "  before  the  calends 
the  Dog.  On  the  sixth  before  l  the  nones  of  May,  the  Suculse 
rise  in  the  morning,  according  to  the  calculation  of  Csesar,  and 
on  the  eighth  before  2  the  ides,  the  She-goat,  which  announces 
rain.  In  Egypt  the  Dog  sets  in  the  evening  of  the  same  day. 
Such  are  pretty  nearty  the  movements  of  the  constellations  up 
to  the  sixth  before  3  the  ides  of  May,  the  period  of  the  rising 
of  the  Vergiliee. 

In  this  interval  of  time,  during  the  first  fifteen  days,  the 
agriculturist  must  make  haste  and  do  all  the  work  for  which 
he  has  not  been  able  to  find  time  before  the  vernal  equinox  ; 
and  he  should  bear  in  mind  that  those  who  are  late  in  pruning 
their  vines  are  exposed  to  jibes  and  taunts,  in  imitation  of  the 
note  of  the  bird  of  passage  known  to  us  as  the  cuckoo.4  For  it 
is  looked  upon  as  a  disgrace,  and  one  that  subjects  him  to  well- 
merited  censure,  for  that  bird,  upon  its  arrival,  to  find  him 
only  then  pruning  his  vines.  Hence  it  is,  too,  that  we  find 
those  cutting  jokes,5  of  which  our  peasantry  are  the  object,  at 
the  beginning  of  spring.  Still,  however,  all  such  jokes  are  to 
be  looked  upon  as  most  abominable,  from  the  ill  omens6  they 

In  this  way,  then,  we  see  that,  in  agricultural  operations, 
the  most  trifling  things  are  construed  as  so  many  hints  supplied 
us  by  Nature.  The  latter  part  of  this  period  is  the  proper 
time  for  sowing  panic  and  millet  ;  the  precise  moment,  how- 
ever, is  just  after  the  barley  has  ripened.  In  the  case  of  the 
very  same  land,  too,  there  is  one  sign  that  points  in  common 
both  to  the  ripening  of  the  barley  and  the  sowing  of  panic  and 
millet  —  the  appearance  of  the  glow-worm,  shining  in  the  fields 
at  night.  "  Cicindelae"7  is  the  name  given  by  the  country 
people  to  these  flying  stars,  while  the  Greeks  call  them  "  lam- 
py  rides,"  —  another  manifestation  of  the  incredible  bounteous- 
ness  of  Nature. 

CHAP.  67.   (27.)  -  WORK   TO    BE    DONE  AFTER  THE    RISING    OF   THE 


Nature  had  already  formed  the  Vergiliae,  a  noble  group  of 

9  Twenty-eighth  of  April.  ]   Second  of  May. 

2  Eighth  of  May.  3  Tenth  of  May. 
*  "Cuculus."  SeeB.  x.  c.  11, 

s  "  Petuluntise  vales."  Perhaps  "  indecent,"  or  "wanton  jokes  :"  at  least, 
JIardouin  thinks  so. 

6  By  causing  quarrels,  probably.  7  Sec  "B.  xi.  c.  34. 

Cliap.  67.]  WORK   FOR    SPRING.  89 

stars,  in  the  heavens  ;  but  not  content  with  these,  she  has 
made  others  as  well  for  the  face  of  the  earth,  crying  aloud,  as 
it  were  :7*  "  Why  contemplate  the  heavens,  husbandman  ? 
Why,  rustic,  look  up  at  the  stars?  Do  not  the  nights  already 
afford  you  a  sleep  too  brief  for  your  fatigues  ?  Behold  now  !  I 
scatter  stars  amid  the  grass  for  your  service,  and  I  reveal  them, 
to  you  in  the  evening,  as  you  return  from  your  work  ;  and 
that  you  may  not  disregard  them,  I  call  your  attention  to  this 
marvel.  Do  you  not  see  how  the  wings  of  this  insect  cover 
a  body  bright  and  shining  like  fire,  and  how  that  body  gives 
out  light  in  the  hours  of  the  night  even  ?  I  have  given  you 
plants  to  point  out  to  you  the  hours,  and,  that  you  may  not 
have  to  turn  your  eyes  from  the  earth,  even  to  view  the  sun, 
the  heliotropium  and  the  lupine  have  been  made  by  me  to  move 
with  his  movements.  Why  then  still  look  upwards,  and  scan 
the  face  of  heaven  ?  Behold,  here  before  your  very  feet  are 
your  Vergiliae  ;  upon  a  certain  day  do  they  make  th'jir  appear- 
ance, and  for  a  certain  time  do  they  stay.  Equally  certain, 
too,  it  is  that  of  that  constellation  they  are  the  offspring. 
Whoever,  then,  shall  put  in  his  summer  seeds  before  they  have 
made  their  appearance,  will  infallibly  find  himself  in  the 

It  is  in  this  interval,  too,  that  the  little  bee  comes  forth,  and 
announces  that  the  bean  is  about  to  blossom  ;  for  it  is  the  bean 
in  flower  that  summons  it  forth.  We  will  here  give  another 
sign,  which  tells  us  when  the  cold  is  gone  ;  as  soon  as  ever 
you  see  the  mulberry 8  in  bud,  you  have  no  occasion  to  fear  any 
injury  from  the  rigour  of  the  weather. 

It  is  the  time,  now,  to  put  in  cuttings  of  the  olive,  to  clear 
away  between  the  olive-trees,  and,  in  the  earlier  days  of  the 
equinox,  to  irrigate  the  meadows.  As  soon,  however,  as  the 
grass  puts  forth  a  stem,  you  must  shut  off  the  water  from  the 
fields.9  You  must  now  lop  the  leafy  branches  of  the  vine,  it 
being  the  rule  that  this  should  be  done  as  soon  as  the  branches 
have  attained  four  fingers  in  length  ;  one  labourer  will  be  suf- 
ficient for  a  jugerum.  The  crops  of  corn,  too,  should  be  hoed 
over  again,  an  operation  which  lasts  twenty  days.  It  is  gene- 
rally thought,  however,  that  it  is  injurious  to  both  vine  and 
corn  to  begin  hoeing  directly  after  the  equinox.  This  is  the 
proper  time,  too,  for  washing  sheep. 

7*  A  quotation  from  some  unknown  p^et,  Sillig  thinks. 

8  See  ti.  xvi.  c.  41.  9  bee  Virgil,  Eel.  iii.  1.  111. 

90  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XVIII. 

After  the  rising  of  the  Vergil iae  the  more  remarkable  signs 
are,  according  to  Caesar,  the  morning  rising  of  Arcturus,  which 
takes  place  on  the  following  day  ;l°  and  the  rising  of  the  Lyre 
on  the  third11  before  the  ides  of  May.  The  She- goat  sets  in 
the  evening  of  the  twelfth  before12  the  calends  of  June,  and 
in  Attica  the  Dog.  On  the  eleventh13  before  the  calends  of 
June,  according  to  Caesar,  Orion's  Sword  begins  to  appear ;  and, 
according  to  the  same  writer,  on  the  fourth14  before  the  nones 
of  June  the  Eagle  rises  in  the  evening,  and  in  Assyria  as  well. 
On  the  seventh15  before  the  ides  of  June  Arcturus  sets  in  the 
morning  to  the  people  of  Italy,  and  on  the  fourth16  before  the 
ides  the  Dolphin  rises  in  the  evening.  On  the  seventeenth17 
before  the  calends  of  July  Orion's  Sword  rises  in  Italy,  and, 
four  days  later,  in  Egypt.  On  the  eleventh18  before  the  calends 
of  July,  according  to  Csesar's  reckoning,  Orion's  Sword  begins 
to  set ;  and  the  eighth19  before  the  calends  of  July,  the  longest 
day  in  the  year,  with  the  shortest  night,  brings  us  to  the  sum- 
mer solstice. 

In  this  interval  of  time  the  vine  should  be  cleared  of  its 
superfluous  branches,  and  care  taken  to  give  an  old  vine  one 
turning  up  at  the  roots,  a  young  tree  two.  Sheep,  too,  are 
sheared  at  this  period,  lupines  turned  up  for  manuring  the 
]and,  the  ground  dug,  vetches  cut  for  fodder,  and  beans  gathered 
in  and  threshed. 

(28.)  About  the  calends  of  June20  the  meadows  are  mown  ; 
the  cultivation  of  which,  the  one  which  is  the  easiest  of  all, 
and  requires  the  smallest  outlay,  leads  me  to  enter  into  some 
further  details  relative  to  it.  Meadow  lands  should  be  selected 
in  a  rich,  or  else  a  moist  or  well- watered,  soil,  and  care  should 
be  taken  to  drain  the  rain-water  upon  them  from  the  high- 
road. The  best  method  of  ensuring  a  good  crop  of  grass,  is 
first  to  plough  the  land,  and  then  to  harrow  it :  but,  before 
passing  the  harrow  over  it,  the  ground  should  be  sprinkled 
with  such  seed  as  may  have  fallen  from  the  hay  in  the  hay- 
lofts  and  mangers.  The  land  should  not  be  watered,  however, 
the  first  year,21  nor  should  cattle  be  put  to  graze  upon  it  before 

10  Eleventh  of  May.  H  Thirteenth  of  May. 

12  Twenty-first  of  May.  13  Twenty-second  of  May. 

11  Seeona  of  June.  15  Seventh  of  June. 
16  Tenth  of  June.                             "  Fifteenth  of  June. 

18  Twenty-first  of  June.  19  Twenty-fourth  of  June. 

20  First  of  June.  2l  Columella,  13.  ii.  c.  18. 

Chap.  67.]  HAY- MAKING.  91 

the  second  hay-harvest,  for  fear  lest  the  blade  should  be  torn 
up  by  the  roots,  or  be  trodden  down  and  stunted  in  its  growth. 
Meadow  land  will  grow  old  in  time,  and  it  requires  to  be  reno- 
vated every  now  and  then,  by  sowing  upon  it  a  crop  of  beans, 
or  else  rape  or  millet,  after  which  it  should  be  sown  the  next 
year  with  corn,  and  then  left  for  hay  the  third.  Care,  too, 
should  be  taken,  every  time  the  grass  is  cut,  to  pass  the  sickle 
over  the  ground,  and  so  cut  the  aftermath  which  the  mowers 
have  left  behind ;  for  it  is  a  very  bad  plan  to  leave  any  of  the 
grass  and  let  it  shed  its  seed  there.  The  best  crop  for  meadow 
land  is  trefoil,22  and  the  next  best  is  grass  ;23  rmmmulus24  is 
the  very  worst  of  all,  as  it  bears  a  pod  which  is  particularly 
injurious;  equisaatis,25  too,  which  derives  its  name  from  its 
resemblance  to  horse-hair,  is  of  a  noxions  character.  The  pro- 
per time  for  mowing  grass  is  when  the  ear  begins  to  shed  its 
blossom  and  to  grow  strong :  care  must  be  taken  to  cut  it 
before  it  becomes  dry  and  parched.  "  Don't  mow  your  hay 
too  late,"  says  Cato  ;26  "  but  cut  it  before  the  seed  is  ripe." 
Some  persons  turn  the  water  upon  it  the  day  before  mowing, 
where  it  is  practicable  to  do  so.  It  is  the  best  plan  to  cut  hay 
in  the  night  while  the  dews  are  falling.27  In  some  parts  of 
Italy  the  mowing  is  not  done  till  after  harvest. 

This  operation,  too,  was  a  very  expensive  one  in  ancient 
times.  In  those  days  the  only  whetstones28  known  were 
those  of  Crete  and  other  places  beyond  sea,  and  they  only  used 
oil  to  sharpen  the  scythe  with.  For  this  purpose  the  mower 
moved  along,  with  a  horn,  to  hold  the  oil,  fastened  to  his 
thigh.  Italy  has  since  furnished  us  with  whetstones  which  are 
used  with  water,  and  give  an  edge  to  the  iron  quite  equal  to 
that  imparted  by  the  file ;  these  water- whetstones,  however, 
turn  green  very  quickly.  Of  the  scythe29  there  are  two  va- 

22  The  varieties  now  known  as  Trifolium  pratense,  Tri  folium  rubeus 
and  Trifolium  repens. 

23  "  Gramen."     Under  this  head,  as  Fee  says,  he  probably  includes  the 
gramineous  plants,  known  as  Alopecurus,  Phleum,  Poa,  Festuca,  &c. 

24  Probably  the  Lysimachia  nummularia  of  Linnaeus,  which  has  a  ten- 
dency to  corrode  the  lips  of  the  sheep  that  pasture  on  it. 

25  Known  to  us  as  "horse-tail;"  varieties  of  which  are  the  Equisetum 
fluviatile  and  the  Equisetum  palustre  of  LinnaBus. 

26  De  Re  Rust.  c.  53.  27  See  Virgil's  Georg.  i.  289. 

58  As  to  whetstones,  for  further  information,  see  B.  xxvi.  c.  47. 
29  The  word  "falx,"  "sickle"  or  "scythe,"  is  used  here  as  denoting 
an  implement  for  mowing,  and  not  reaping. 


rieties;  the  Italian,30  which  is  considerably  shorter  than  the 
other,  and  can  be  handled  among  underwood  even  ;  and  the 
Gallic,  which  makes  quicker  work31  of  it,  when  employed  on 
extensive  domains,  for  there  they  cut  the  grass  in  the  middle 
only,  and  pass  over  the  shorter  blades.  The  Italian  mowers 
cut  with  one  hand  only.  It  is  a  fair  day's  work  for  one  man 
to  cut  a  jugerurn  of  grass,  and  for  another  to  bind  twelve  hun- 
dred sheaves  of  four  pounds  each.  When  the  grass  is  cut  it 
should  be  turned  towards  the  sun,  and  must  never  be  stacked 
until  it  is  quite  dry.  If  this  last  precaution  is  not  carefully 
taken,  a  kind  of  vapour  will  be  seen  arising  from  the  rick  in 
the  morning,  and  as  soon  as  the  sun  is  up  it  will  ignite  to  a 
certainty,  and  so  be  consumed.  When  the  grass  has  been  cut, 
the  meadow  must  be  irrigated  again,  for  the  purpose  of  ensur- 
ing a  crop  in  the  autumn,  known  to  us  as  the  "  cordum,"  or 
aftermath.  At  Interamna  in  Umbria  the  grass  is  cut  four 
times32  a-year,  and  this  although  the  meadows  there  are  not 
irrigated, — in  most  places,  three.  After  all  this  has  been  done, 
too,  the  pasturage  of  the  land  is  found  no  less  lucrative  than 
the  hay  it  has  produced.  This,  however,  is  a  matter  of  con- 
sideration for  those  more  particularly  who  rear  large  herds  of 
cattle,  and  every  one  whose  occupation  it  is  to  breed  beasts  of 
burden,  will  have  his  own  opinions  upon  the  subject :  it  is 
found,  however,  the  most  lucrative  of  all  by  those  whose  busi- 
ness it  is  to  train  chariot-horses. 


We  have  already  stated33  that  the  summer  solstice  arrives  at 
the  eighth  degree  of  Cancer,  and  upon  the  eighth  day  before34 
the  calends  of  July  :  this  is  an  important  crisis  in  the  year, 
and  of  great  interest  to  the  whole  earth.  Up  to  this  period 
from  the  time  of  the  winter  solstice  the  days  have  gone  on 
increasing,  and  the  sun  has  continued  for  six  months  making 
his  ascension  towards  the  north  ;  having  now  surmounted  the 
heights  of  the  heavens,  at  this  point  he  reaches  the  goal,  and 

30  Similar  in  shape  to  our  sickle,  or  reaping  hook,  no  doubt. 

31  "  Majoris  compendii."      Similar  to  our  reaping-hook,   also.      Fee 
thinks  that  the  former  was  similar  to  the  u  faux  faucille,"  or  false  sickle, 
the  latter  to  the  common  sickle  of  the  French. 

32  Fee  says  that  this  is  the  case  in  some  parts  of  France. 

33  In  c.  59  of  this  Book. 

31  Twenty-fourth  of  June.     See  the  last  Chapter. 

CLap.  GS.]  THE    RUMMER   SOLSTICE.  93 

after  doing  so,  commences  his  return  towards  the  south  ;  the 
consequence  of  which  is,  that  for  the  next  six  months  ho 
increases  the  nights  and  subtracts  from  the  length  of  the  days. 
From  this  period,  then,  it  is  the  proper  time  to  gather  in  and 
store  away  the  various  crops  in  succession,  and  so  make  all 
due  preparations  for  the  rigour  and  severity  of  the  winter. 

It  was  only  to  be  expected  that  Nature  should  point  out  to 
us  the  moment  of  this  change  by  certain  signs  of  an  indubi- 
table character ;  and  she  has  accordingly  placed  them  beneath 
the  very  hands  of  the  agriculturist,  bidding  the  leaves  turn 
rouud:j5  upon  that  day,  and  so  denote  that  the  luminary  has  now 
run  its  course.  And  it  is  not  the  leaves  of  trees  only  that  are 
wild  and  far  remote  that  do  this,  nor  have  those  persons  who 
are  on  the  look-out  for  these  signs  to  go  into  devious  forests 
and  mountain  tracts  to  seek  them.  Nor  yet,  on  the  other 
hand,  are  they  to  be  seen  in  the  leaves  of  trees  only  that  are 
grown  in  the  vicinity  of  cities  or  reared  by  the  hand  of  the 
ornamental  gardener,  although  in  them  they  are  to  be  seen 
as  well.  Nature  upon  this  occasion  turns  the  leaf  of  the 
olive  which  meets  us  at  every  step  ;  she  turns  the  leaf  of 
the  linden,  sought  by  us,  as  it  is,  for  a  thousand  purposes  ; 
she  turns  the  leaf  of  the  white  poplar,  too,  wedded  to  the  vine 
that  grows  upon  its  trunk.  And  still,  for  her,  all  this  is  not 
enough.  "  You  have  the  elm,"  she  says,  "reared  for  the  sup- 
port of  the  vine,  and  the  leaf  of  that  I  will  make  to  turn  as 
well.  The  leaves  of  this  tree  you  have  to  gather  for  fodder,  the 
leaves  of  the  vine  you  prune  away.  Only  look  upon  them, 
and  there  you  behold  the  solstice  ;a(i  they  are  now  pointing 
towards  a  quarter  of  the  heavens  the  reverse  of  that  towards 
which  they  looked  the  day  before.  The  twigs  of  the  withy, 
that  most  lowly  of  trees,  you  employ  for  tying  things  without 
number.  You  are  a  head  taller  than  it — I  will  make  its 
leaves  to  turn  round  as  well.  Why  complain,  then,  that  you 
are  but  a  rustic  peasant  ?  It  shall  be  no  fault  of  mine  if 
you  do  not  understand  the  heavens  and  become  acquainted 
with  the  movements  of  the  celestial  bodies.  I  will  give 
another  sign,  too,  that  shall  address  itself  to  your  ear — only 
listen  for  the  cooing  of  the  ring-doves ;  and  beware  of  sup- 

35  On  this  subject  see  B.  xvi.  c.  36.     See  also  \rarro,  De  Re  Rust.  B.  i. 
c.  46,  and  Aulus  Gellius,  B.  ix.  c.  7. 
a6  "  Tenes  Sidus." 


posing  that  the  summer  solstice  is  past,  until  you  see  the 
wood-pigeon  sitting  on  her  eggs." 

Between  the  summer  solstice  and  the  setting  of  the  Lyre,  on 
the  sixth  day  before  the  calends  of  July,37  according  to  Caesar's 
reckoning,  Orion  rises,  and  upon  the  fourth38  before  the  nones 
of  July,  his  Belt  rises  to  the  people  of  Assyria.  Upon  the 
morning  of  the  same  day,  also,  the  scorching  constellation  of 
Procyon  rises.  This  last  constellation  has  no  name  with  the 
Romans,  unless,  indeed,  we  would  consider  it  as  identical  with 
Canicula,39  or  Lesser  Dog,  which  we  find  depicted  among 
the  stars  ;  this  last  is  productive  of  excessive  heat,  as  we  shall 
shortly  have  further  occasion  to  state.  On  the  fourth40  before 
the  nones  of  July,  the  Crown  sets  in  the  morning  to  the  people 
of  Chaldtea,  and  in  Attica,  the  whole  of  Orion  has  risen  by 
that  day.  On  the  day  before 41  the  ides  of  July,  the  rising  of 
Orion  ends  to  the  Egyptians  also ;  on  the  sixteenth 42  before 
the  calends  of  August,  Procyon  rises  to  the  people  of  Assyria, 
and,  the  day  but  one  after,  of  nearly  all  other  countries  as  well, 
indicating  a  crisis  that  is  universally  known  among  all  nations, 
and  which  by  us  is  called  the  rising  of  the  Dog-star  ;  the  sun 
at  this  period  entering  the  first  degree  of  Leo.  The  Dog-star 
rises  on  the  twenty-third  day  after  the  summer  solstice  ;  the 
influence  of  it  is  felt  by  both  ocean,  and  earth,  and  even  by  many 
of  the  animals  as  well,  as  stated  by  us  elsewhere  on  the  appro- 
priate occasions.43  No  less  veneration,  in  fact,  is  paid  to  this 
star,  than  to  those  that  are  consecrated  to  certain  gods;  it 
kindles  the  flames  of  the  sun,  and  is  one  great  source  of  the 
heats  of  summer. 

On  the  thirteenth 44  day  before  the  calends  of  August,  the 
Eagle  sets  in  the  morning  to  the  people  of  Egypt,  and  the 
breezes  that  are  the  precursors  of  the  Etesian  winds,  begin  to 
blow ;  these,  according  to  Caesar,  are  first  perceived  in  Italy, 
on  the  tenth  before 45  the  calends  of  August.  The  Eagle  sets 
in  the  morning  of  that  day  to  the  people  of  Attica,  and  on  the 

37  Twenty-sixth  of  June.  38  Fourth  of  July. 

39  There  is  some  confusion,  apparently,  here.  Canicula,  Syrius,  or  the 
Dog-star,  belongs  to  the  Constellation  Canis  Major  ;  while  Canis  Minor, 
a  Constellation  which  contains  the  star  Procyon,  ("  the  forerunner  of  the 
Dog,'')  precedes  it. 

4a  Fourth  of  July.  41  Fourteenth  of  July. 

42  Seventeenth  of  July.  43  B.  ii.  c.  40,  and  B!  xix.  c.  25. 

**  Twentieth  of  July.  45  Twenty-third  of  July. 

Chap.  68.]  THE   SUMMER   SOLSTICE.  P5 

third  before46  the  calends  of  August,  the  Royal  Star  in  the 
breast  of  Leo  rises  in  the  morning,  according  to  Caesar.  On 
the  eighth  before  47  the  ides  of  August,  one  half  of  Arcturus 
has  ceased  to  be  visible,  and  on  the  third  before48  the  ides  the 
Lyre,  by  its  setting,  opens  the  autumn, — according  to  Caesar  at 
least ;  though  a  more  exact  calculation  has  since  shown,  that 
this  takes  place  on  the  sixth  day  before 49  the  ides  of  that  month. 
The  time  that  intervenes  between  these  periods  is  one  that 
is  of  primary  importance  in  the  cultivation  of  the  vine;  as 
the  constellation  of  which  we  have  spoken,  under  the  name  of 
Canicula,  has  now  to  decide  upon  the  fate  of  the  grape.  It  is 
at  this  period  that  the  grapes  are  said  to  be  charred,50  a  blight 
falling  upon  them  which  burns  them  awajr,  as  though  red-hot 
coals  had  been  applied  to  them.  There  is  no  hail  that  can  be 
compared  with  this  destructive  malady,  nor  yet  any  of  those 
tempests,  which  have  been  productive  of  such  scarcity  and 
dearth.  For  the  evil  effects  of  these,  at  the  very  utmost,  are 
only  felt  in  isolated  districts,  while  the  coal  blight,51  on  the  other 
hand,  extends  over  whole  countries,  far  and  wide.  Still,  how- 
ever, the  remedy  would  not  be  very  difficult,  were  it  not  that 
men  would  much  rather  calumniate  Nature,  than  help  them- 
selves. It  is  said  that  Dernocritus,5-  who  was  the  first  to  com- 
prehend and  demonstrate  that  close  affinity  which  exists  be- 
tween the  heavens  and  the  earth,  finding  his  laborious  re- 
searches upon  that  subject  slighted  by  the  more  opulent  of  his 
fellow- citizens,  and  presaging  the  high  price  of  oil,  which  was 
about  to  result  upon  the  rising  of  the  Yergiliae,  (as  we  have 
already  mentioned,53  and  shall  have  to  explain  more  fully  here- 
after), bought  up  all  the  oil  in  the  country,  which  was  then  at 
a  very  low  figure,  from  the  universal  expectation  of  a  fine  crop 
of  olives  ;  a  proceeding  which  greatly  surprised  all  who  knew 
that  a  life  of  poverty  and  learned  repose  was  so  entirely  the 
object  of  his  aspirations.  When,  however,  his  motives  had 
been  fully  justified  by  the  result,  and  vast  riches  had  flowed  in 
upon  him  apace,  he  returned  all  his  profits  to  the  disappointed 

48  Thirtieth  of  July.  47  Sixth  of  August. 

48  Eleventh  of  August.  49  Eighth  of  August. 

50  See  B.  xvii.  c.  37.  5I  Carbunculus. 

5-  Cicero,  De  Div.,  B.  ii.  201,  Aristotle,  Polit.  K  i.  c.  7,  and  Diogenes 
Larrtius  tell  this  story  of  Thales  the  philosopher ;  Pliny  beiug  the  only 
one  that  applies  it  to  Democritus. 

w  In  the  lust  Chapter.      This  passage  is  corrupt. 

96  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [P.ook  XVIII. 

proprietors,  whose  avarice  had  now  taught  them  to  repent, 
thinking  it  quite  sufficient  to  have  thus  proved  how  easy  it 
was  for  him  to  acquire  riches  whenever  he  pleased.  At  a 
more  recent  period,  again,  Sextius,54  a  Roman  philosopher  re- 
siding at  Athens,  made  a  similar  application  of  his  knowledge. 
Such,  then,  is  the  utility  of  science,  the  instruction  provided 
hy  which  it  shall  be  my  aim,  as  clearly  and  as  perspicuously 
as  possible,  to  apply  to  the  various  occupations  of  a  country 

Most  writers  have  said  that  it  is  the  dew,  scorched  by  a 
burning  sun,  that  is  the  cause  of  mildew 55  in  corn,  and  of  coal- 
blight  in  the  vine ;  this,  however,  seems  to  me  in  a  great 
measure  incorrect,  and  it  is  my  opinion  that  all  blights  result 
entirely  from  cold,  and  that  the  sun  is  productive  of  no  injurious 
effects  whatever.  This,  in  fact,  will  be  quite  evident,  if  only  a 
little  attention  is  paid  to  the  subject ;  for  we  find  that  the  blight 
makes  its  appearance  at  first  in  the  night  time  only,  and  before 
the  sun  has  shone  with  any  vigour.  The  natural  inference  is, 
that  it  depends  entirely  upon  the  moon,  and  more  particularly 
as  such  a  calamity  as  this  is  never  known  -o  happen  except  at  the 
moon's  conjunction,  or  else  at  the  full  moon,  periods  at  which 
the  influence  of  that  heavenly  body  is  at  its  greatest  height. 
For  at  both  of  these  periods,  as  already56  stated  by  us  more 
than  once,  the  moon  is  in  reality  at  the  full ;  though  during 
her  conjunction  she  throws  back  to  the  heavens  all  the  light 
which  she  has  received  from  the  sun.  The  difference  in  the 
effects  produced  by  the  moon  at  these  two  periods  is  very  great, 
though  at  the  same  time  equally  apparent ;  for  at  the  conjunc- 
tion, that  body  is  extremely  hot  in  summer,  but  cold  in  win- 
ter ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  at  the  full  moon,  the  nights  are 
cold  in  summer,  but  warm,  in  winter.  The  reason  of  this, 
although  Fabianus  and  the  Greek  writers  adopt  another  me- 
thod of  explaining  it,  is  quite  evident.  During  the  moon's 
conjunction  in  summer,  she  must  of  necessity  move  along  with 
the  sun  in  an  orbit  nearer  to  the  earth,  and  so  become  warmed 

54  Mentioned  by  Seneca,  Ep.  59. 

85  It  was  reserved  for  the  latter  part  of  the  last  century  to  discover  that 
mildew  operated  on  vegetation  through  the  medium  of  minute,  parasitical 
fungi.  It  is  mostly  attributed  to  defects  in  the  light  or  the  atmosphere, 
or  else  humidity  in  excess.  See  c.  44  of  this  Book. 

55  In  B.  ii.  e.  6,  for  instance. 

Chap.  69.]  CAUSES    OF    STE1ULITT.  97 

by  the  heat  which  she  receives  by  reason  of  her  closer  vicinity 
to  the  sun.  In  winter,  again,  at  the  time  of  the  conjunction, 
she  is  farther  off  from  us,  the  sun  being  also  removed  to  a 
greater  distance.  On  the  other  hand,  again,  when  the  moon 
is  at  the  full  in  summer,  she  is  more  remote  from  the  earth, 
and  in  opposition  with  the  sun ;  while,  in  winter,  she  ap- 
proaches nearer  to  us  at  that  period,  by  adopting  the  same 
orbit  as  at  her  conjunction  in  summer.  Naturally  humid  her- 
self, as  often  as  from  her  position  she  is  cold,  she  congeals  to 
an  unlimited  extent  the  dews  which  fall  at  that  period  of  the 


But  we  ought  always  to  bear  in  mind,  more  particularly, 
that  there  are  two  varieties  of  evils  that  are  inflicted  upon  the 
earth  by  the  heavens.  The  first  of  these,  known  by  us  under 
the  name  of  "  tempests,"  comprehends  hail-storms,  hurricanes 
and  other  calamities  of  a  similar  nature  ;  when  these  take  place 
at  the  full  moon,  they  come  upon  us  with  additional  intensity. 
These  tempests  take  their  rise  in  certain  noxious  constellations, 
as  already  stated  by  us  on  several  occasions,  Arcturus,  for  in- 
stance, Orion,  and  the  Kids. 

The  other  evils  that  are  thus  inflicted  upon  us,  supervene  with 
a  bright,  clear  sky,  and  amid  the  silence  of  the  night,  no  one 
being  sensible  of  them  until  we  have  perceived  their  effects. 
These  dispensations  are  universal  and  of  a  totally  different 
character  from  those  previously  mentioned,  and  have  various 
names  given  to  them,  sometimes  mildew,  sometimes  blast,  and 
sometimes  coal  blight;  but  in  all  cases  sterility  is  the  infallible 
result.  It  is  of  these  last  that  we  have  now  to  speak,  entering 
into  details  which  have  not  hitherto  been  treated  of  by  any 
writer ;  and  first  of  all  we  will  explain  the  causes  of  them. 

(29.)  Independently  of  the  moon,  there  are  two  principal 
causes  of  these  calamities,  which  emanate  more  particular!}' 
from  two  quarters  of  the  heavens  of  but  limited  extent.  On 
the  one  hand,  the  VergiliaB  exercise  an  especial  influence  on  our 
harvests,  as  it  is  with  their  rising  that  the  summer  begins,  and 
with  their  setting,  the  winter ;  thus  embracing,  in  the  space  of 
six  months,  the  harvest,  the  vintage,  and  the  ripening  of  all  the 
vegetable  productions.  In  addition  to  this,  there  is  a  circular 
tract  in  the  heavens,  quite  visible  to  the  human  eye  even,  known 

VOL.    IV.  H 

98  PLINY'S  XATTTRAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XVIIT. 

as  the  Milky  Way.  It  is  the  emanations  from  this,  flowing  as 
it  were  from  the  breast,  that  supply  their  milky57  nutriment  to 
all  branches  of  the  vegetable  world.  Two  constellations  more 
particularly  mark  this  circular  tract,  the  Eagle  in  the  north, 
and  Canicula  in  the  south  ;  of  this  last,  we  have  already  made 
mention 68  in  its  appropriate  place.  This  circle  traverses  also 
Sagittarius  and  Gemini,  and  passing  through  the  centre  of  the 
sun,  cuts  the  equinoctial  line  below,  the  constellation  of  the 
Eagle  making  its  appearance  at  the  point  of  intersection  on 
the  one  side,  and  Canicula  on  the  other.  Hence  it  is  that  the 
influences  of  both  these  constellations  develope  themselves 
•upon  all  cultivated  lands  ;  it  being  at  these  points  only  that  the 
centre  of  the  sun  is  brought  to  correspond  with  that  of  the 
earth.  If,  then,  at  the  moments  of  the  rising  and  the  setting 
of  these  constellations,  the  air,  soft  and  pure,  transmits  these 
genial  and  milky  emanations  to  the  earth,  the  crops  will  thrive 
and  ripen  apace ;  but  if,  on  the  other  hand,  the  moon,  as  al- 
ready59 mentioned,  sheds  her  chilling  dews,  the  bitterness  there- 
of infuses  itself  into  these  milky  secretions,  and  so  kills  the 
vegetation  in  its  birth.  The  measure  of  the  injury  so  inflicted 
on  the  earth  depends,  in  each  climate,  upon  the  combination  of 
the  one  or  other  of  these  causes ;  and  hence  it  is  that  it  is  not 
felt  in  equal  intensity  throughout  the  whole  earth,  nor  even  pre- 
cisely at  the  same  moment  of  time.  We  have  already60  said 
that  the  Eagle  rises  in  Italy  on  the  thirteenth  day61  before  the 
calends  of  January,  and  the  ordinary  course  of  Nature  does 
not  permit  us  before  that  period  to  reckon  with  any  degree  of 
certainty  upon  the  fruits  of  the  earth  ;  for  if  the  moon  should 
happen  to  be  in  conjunction  at  that  time,  it  will  be  a  necessary 
consequence,  that  all  the  winter  fruits,  as  well  as  the  early 
ones,  will  receive  injury  more  or  less. 

The  life  led  by  the  ancients  was  rude  and  illiterate ;  still, 
as  will  be  readily  seen,  the  observations  they  made  were  not 
less  remarka.ble  for  ingenuity  than  are  the  theories  of  the  pre- 
sent day.  With  them  there  were  three  set  periods  for  gather- 
ing in  the  produce  of  the  earth,  and  it  was  in  honour  of  these 
periods  that  they  instituted  the  festive  days,  known  as  the 

57  An  onomatic  prejudice,  as  Fee  says,  solely  founded  on  the  peculiarity 
of  the  name. 

58  In  the  preceding  Chapter.  59  In  the  preceding  Chapter. 
60  In  B.  xvi.  c.  42.                         6<  Twentieth  of  December. 

Chap.  69.]  CAUSES    OF    STERILITY.  £9 

llobigalia,63  the  Floralia,  and  the  Vinalia.  The  Bobigalia  were 
established  by  Numa  in  the  fortieth  year  of  his  reign,  and  are 
still  celebrated  on  the  seventh  day  before  the  calends  of  May, 
as  it  is  at  this  period  that  mildew63  mostly  makes  its  first  at- 
tacks upon  the  growing  corn.  Varro  fixes  this  crisis  at  the 
moment  at  which  the  sun  enters  the  tenth  degree  of  Taurus, 
in  accordance  with  the  notions  that  prevailed  in  his  day  :  but 
the  real  cause  is  the  fact,  that  thirt}-oue64  days  after  the  vernal 
equinox,  according  to  the  observations  of  various  nations,  the 
Bog-star  sets  between  the  seventh  and  fourth  before  the  cu- 
lends  of  May,  a  constellation  baneful  in  itself,  and  to  appease 
which  a  young  dog  should  first  be  sacrificed.65  The  same  people 
also,  in  the  year  of  the  City  513,  instituted  the  Floralia,  a 
festival  held  upon  the  fourth  before66  the  calends  of  May,  in 
accordance  with  the  oracular  injunctions  of  the  Sibyl,  to  secure 
a  favourable  season  for  the  blossoms  and  flowers.  Varro  fixes 
this  day  as  the  time  at  which  the  sun  enters  the  fourteenth 
degree  of  Taurus.  If  there  should  happen  to  be  a  full  moon 
during  the  four  days  at  this  period,  injury  to  the  corn  and  all 
the  plants  that  are  in  blossom,  will  be  the  necessary  result. 
The  First  Vinalia,  which  in  ancient  times  were  established  on 
the  ninth  before  **  the  calends  of  May,  for  the  purpose  of  tast- 
ing68 the  wines,  have  no  signification  whatever  in  reference  to 
the  fruits  of  the  earth,  any  more  than  the  festivals  already 
mentioned  have  in  reference  to  the  vine  and  the  olive ;  the 
germination  of  these  last  not  commencing,  in  fact,  till  the 
rising  of  the  Vergiliae,  on  the  Sixth  day  before 69  the  ides  of 

e-  Or  festival  in  honour  of   Robigo,  the  Goddess  of  mildew,   on  the 
twenty-fifth  of  April.     See  Ovid's  Fasti,  B.  iv.  1.  907,  et  seq. 
6i  Robigo. 
63  "  Nineteen"  is  the  proper  number. 

65  "  Et  cui  prteoccidere  cauiculam  necesse  est."     The  real  meaning  of 
this  passage  would  seem  to  be, — "  Before  which,   as  a  matter  of  course, 
Canicula  must  set."     But  if  so,  Pliny  is  in  error,  for  Canicula,  or  Procyon, 
sets  heliacally  after  the  Dog-star,  though  it  rises  before  it.     Hardouiri  ob- 
serves, that  it  is  abundantly  proved  from  the  ancient  writers  that  it  was 
the  custom  to  sacrifice  a  puppy  to  Sirius,  or  the  Dog-star,  at  the  Robigalia. 
As  Littre  justly  remarks,  it  would  almost  appear  that  Pliny  intended,  by 
his  ambiguous  language,  to  lead  his  readers  into  error. 

66  Twenty-eighth  of  April.     The  festival  of  Flora. 

67  Twenty- third  of  April.     This  was  the  first,  or  Urban   Vinalia  :    the 
second,  or  Rustic  Vinalia,  were  held  on  the  nineteenth  of  August. 

68  The  same  as  the  Greek  rit^otyta,  or  "opening  of  the  Casks." 

69  Tenth  of  May. 

II   2 

100  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XVIII. 

May,  as  already  mentioned  on  previous  occasions.70  This,  again, 
is  another  period  of  four  days,  which  should  never  be  blemished 
by  dews,  as  the  chilling  constellation  of  Arc  turns,  which  sets 
on  the  following  dajr,  will  be  sure  to  nip  the  vegetation ;  still 
less  ought  there  to  be  a  full  moon  at  this  period. 

On  the  fourth  before 71  the  nones  of  June,  the  Eagle  rises 
again  in  the  evening,  a  critical  day  for  the  olives  and  vines  in 
blossom,  if  there  should  happen  to  be  a  full  moon.  For  my 
part,  I  am  of  opinion  that  the  eighth 72  before  the  calends  of 
July,  the  day  of  the  summer  solstice,  must  be  a  critical  day,  for 
a  similar  reason ;  and  that  the  rising  of  the  Dog-star,  twenty- 
three  days  after  the  summer  solstice,  must  be  so  too,  in  case 
the  moon  is  then  in  conjunction ;  for  the  excessive  heat  is  pro- 
ductive of  injurious  effects,  and  the  grape  becomes  prematurely 
ripened,  shrivelled,  and  tough.  Again,  if  there  is  a  full  moon 
on  the  fourth  before 73  the  nones  of  July,  when  Canicula  rises 
to  the  people  of  Egypt,  or  at  least  on  the  sixteenth  be- 
fore 74  the  calends  of  August,  when  it  rises  in  Italy,  it  is  pro- 
ductive of  injurious  results.  The  same  is  the  case,  too,  from 
the  thirteenth  day  before75  the  calends  of  August,  when  the 
Eagle  sets,  to  the  tenth  before76  the  calends  of  that  month. 
The  Second  Yinalia,  which  are  celebrated  on  the  fourteenth 77 
before  the  calends  of  September,  bear  no  reference  to  these  in- 
fluences. Yarro  fixes  them  at  the  period  at  which  the  Lyre 
begins  its  morning  setting,  and  says  that  this  indicates  the  be- 
ginning of  autumn,  the  day  having  been  set  apart  for  the  pur- 
pose of  propitiating  the  weather  :  at  the  present  day,  however, 
it  is  observed  that  the  Lyre  sets  on  the  sixth  before 78  the  ides 
of  August. 

Within  these  periods  there  are  exerted  the  sterilizing  in- 
fluences of  the  heavens,  though  I  am  far  from  denying  that 
they  may  be  considerably  modified  by  the  nature  of  the  locality, 
according  as  it  is  cold  or  hot.  Still,  however,  it  is  sufficient  for 
me  to  have  demonstrated  the  theory  ;  the  modifications  of  its  re- 
sults depending,  in  a  great  degree,  upon  attentive  observation. 
It  is  beyond  all  question  too,  that  either  one  of  these  two  causes 

70  In  B.  xvi.  c.  42,  and  in  c.  66  of  this  Book. 

71  Second  of  June.  72  Twenty-fourth  of  June. 
73  Fourth  of  July.  u  Seventeenth  of  July. 

75  Twentieth  of  July.  76  Twenty-third  of  July. 

77  Nineteenth  of  August.  78  Eighth  of  August. 


will  be  always  productive  of  its  own  peculiar  effects,  the  full 
moon,  I  mean,  or  else  the  moon's  conjunction.  And  here  it 
suggests  itself  how  greatly  we  ought  to  admire  the  bounteous 
provisions  made  for  us  by  Nature  ;  for,  in  the  first  place,  these 
calamitous  results  cannot  by  any  possibility  befall  us  every  year, 
in  consequence  of  the  fixed  revolutions  of  the  stars ;  nor  indeed, 
when  they  do  happen,  beyond  a  few  nights  in  the  year,  and  it 
may  be  easily  known  beforehand  which  nights  those  are  likely 
to  be.  In  order,  too,  that  we  might  not  have  to  apprehend  these 
injuries  to  vegetation  in  all  the  months,  Nature  has  so  ordained 
that  the  times  of  the  moon's  conjunction  in  summer,  and  of  the 
full  moon  in  winter,  with  the  exception  of  two  days  only  at 
those  respective  periods,  are  well  ascertained,  and  that  there  is 
no  danger  to  be  apprehended  on  any  but  the  nights  of  summer, 
and  those  nights  the  shortest  of  all ;  in  the  day-time,  on  the 
other  hand,  there  is  nothing  to  fear.  And  then,  besides,  these 
phenomena  may  be  so  easily  understood,  that  the  ant  even, 
that  most  diminutive  of  insects,  takes  its  rest  during  the  moon's 
conjunction,  but  toils  on,  and  that  during  the  night  as  well,  when 
the  moon  is  at  the  full;  the  bird,  too,  called  the  "parra"7' 
disappears  upon  the  day  on  which  Sirius  rises,  and  never  re- 
appears until  that  star  has  set;  while  the  witwall,80  on  the 
other  hand,  makes  its  appearance  on  the  day  of  the  summer 
solstice.  The  moon,  however,  is  productive  of  no  noxious 
effects  at  either  of  these  periods,  except  when  the  nights  are 
clear,  and  every  movement  of  the  air  is  lulled  ;  for  so  long  as 
clouds  prevail,  or  the  wind  is  blowing,  the  night  dews  never 
fall.  And  then,  besides,  there  are  certain  remedies  to  counter- 
act these  noxious  influences. 


"When  you  have  reason  to  fear  these  influences,  make  bon- 
fires in  the  fields  and  vineyards  of  cuttings  or  heaps  of  chaff,  or 
else  of  the  weeds  that  have  been  rooted  up  ;  the  smoke81  will 
act  as  a  good  preservative.  The  smoke,  too,  of  burning  chaff 
will  be  an  effectual  protection  against  the  effects  of  fogs,  when 
likely  to  be  injurious.  Some  persons  recommend  that  three 

79  See  B.  x.  c.  45,  and  c.  50.     The  popinjay,  lapwing,  and  tit-mouse 
have  been  suggested. 

80  Virio.     See  B.  x.  c.  45. 

bl  Columella,  De  Arborib.  c.  13,  gives  similar  advice. 

102  PLINY'S  NATUHAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XVIII. 

crabs  should  be  burnt 82  alive  among  the  trees  on  which  the 
vines  are  trained,  to  prevent  these  from  being  attacked  by  coal 
blight;  while  others  say  that  the  flesh  of  the  silurus83  should 
be  burnt  in  a  slow  fire,  in  such  a  way  that  the  smoke  may  be 
dispersed  by  the  wind  throughout  the  vineyard. 

Yarro  informs  us,  that  if  at  the  setting  of  the  Lyre,  which 
is  the  beginning  of  autumn,  a  painted  grape84  is  consecrated  in 
the  midst  of  the  vineyard,  the  bad  weather  will  not  be  pro- 
ductive of  such  disastrous  results  as  it  otherwise  would.  Archi- 
bius85  has  stated,  in  a  letter  to  Antiochus,  king  of  Syria,  that 
it'  a  bramble-frog  86  is  buried  in  a  new  earthen  vessel,  in  the 
middle  of  a  corn-field,  there  will  be  no  storms  to  cause  injury. 


The  following  are  the  rural  occupations  for  this  interval 
of  time — the  ground  must  have  another  turning  up,  and  the 
trees  must  be  cleared  about  the  roots  and  moulded  up,  where 
the  heat  of  the  locality  requires  it.  Those  plants,  however, 
which  are  in  bud  must  not  be  spaded  at  the  roots,  except  where 
the  soil  is  particularly  rich.  The  seed-plots,  too,  must  be  well 
cleared  with  the  hoe,  the  barley- harvest  got  in,  and  the 
threshing-floor  prepared  for  the  harvest  with  chalk,  as  Cato87 
tells  us,  slackened  with  amurca  of  olives ;  Virgil88  makes  men- 
tion of  a  method  still  more  laborious  even.  In  general,  how- 
ever, it  is  considered  sufficient  to  make  it  perfectly  level,  and 
then  to  cover  it  with  a  solution  of  cow-dung89  and  water  ;  this 
being  thought  sufficient  to  prevent  the  dust  from  rising. 

82  This  absurd  practice  is  mentioned  in  the  Geoponica,  B.  v.  c.  31. 

83  As  to  this  fish,  see  B.  ix.  c.  17. 

84  "  Uva  picta  "     This  absurdity  does  not  seem  to  be  found  in  any  of 
Yarro's  works  that  have  come  down  to  us. 

85  Nothing  whatever  is  known  of  him  or  his  works  ;    and,  as  Fee  says, 
apparently  the  loss  is  little  to  be  regretted. 

86  Rubeta  rana. 

87  De  Re  Rust.  129.   Cato,  however,  does  not  mention  chalk,  but  Virgil 
(Georg,  i.  178)  does.      Poinsinet  thinks  that  this  is  a  "  lapsus  memoriae" 
in  Pliny,  but  Fee  suggests  that  there  may  have  been  an  omission  by  the 

8S  See  the  last  Note.  He  recommends  that  it  should  be  turned  up  with 
the  hand,  rammed  down  with  "  tenacious  chalk,"  and  levelled  with  a  large 

89  Both  cow-dung  and  marc  of  olives  are  still  employed  in  some  parts  of 
France,  in  preparing  the  threshing  floor. 

Chap.  72.]                                  THE    HARVEST.  103 

CHAP.  72.   (30.) THE  HARVEST. 

The  mode  of  getting  in  the  harvest  varies  considerably.  In 
the  vast  domains  of  the  provinces  of  Gaul  a  large  hollow 
frame,90  armed  with  teeth  and  supported  on  two  wheels,  is 
driven  through  the  standing  corn,  the  beasts  being  yoked91 
behind  it ;  the  result  being,  that  the  ears  are  torn  off  and 
fall  within  the  frame.  In  other  countries  the  stalks  are  cut 
with  the  sickle  in  the  middle,  and  the  ears  are  separated  by 
the  aid  of  paddle-forks.92  In  some  places,  again,  the  corn  is 
torn  up  by  the  roots ;  and  it  is  asserted  by  those  who  adopt 
this  plan,  that  it  is  as  good  as  a  light  turning  up  fur  the  ground, 
whereas,  in  reality,  they  deprive  it  of  its  juices.93  There  are 
diiferences  in  other  respects  also  :  in  places  where  they  thatch 
their  houses  with  straw,  they  keep  the  longest  haulms  for  that 
purpose  ;  and  where  hay  is  scarce,  they  employ  the  straw  for 
litter.  The  straw  of  panic  is  never  used  for  thatching,  and 
that  of  millet  is  mostly  burnt ;  barley- straw,  however,  is 
always  preserved,  as  being  the  most  agreeable  of  all  as  a  food 
for  oxen.  In  the  Gallic  provinces  panic  and  millet  are  gathered, 
ear  by  ear,  with  the  aid  of  a  comb  carried  in  the  hand. 

In  some  places  the  corn  is  beaten  out  by  machines94  upon 
the  threshing-floor,  in  others  by  the  feet  of  mares,  and  in 

90  Palladius  gives  a  long  description  of  this  contrivance,  which  seems  to 
have  been  pushed  forward  by  the  ex;  the  teeth,  which  were  sharp  at  the 
edge  and  fine  at  the  point,  catching  the  ears  and  tearing  them  off.     But, 
as  Fee  says,  the  use  of  it  must  have  been  very  disadvantageous,  in  conse- 
quence of  the  unequal  height  of  the  stalks.     The  straw,  too,  was  sacrificed 
by  the  employment  of  it. 

91  In  contrarium  juncto. 

92  "  Merges."     Supposed  to  be  the  same  as  the  "  batillum"  of  Yarro. 
Its  form  is  unknown,  and,  indeed,  the  manner  in  which  it  was  used.     It  is 
not  improbable  that  it  was  a  fork,  sharp  at  the  edge,  and  similar  to  an 
open  pair  of  scissars,  with  which  the  heads  of  corn  were  driven  off,  as  it 
were  ;  this,  however,  is  only  a  mere  conjecture.     By  the  use  of  "  atque," 
it  would  almost  appear  that  the  u  merges"  was  employed   after  the  sickle 
had  been  used ;  but  it  is  more  probable  that  he  refers  to  two  different  me- 
thods of  gathering  the  ears  of  corn. 

93  The  roots  and  the  stubble  are,  in  reality,  as  good  as  a  manure  to  the 

94  Called  "  tribulum  ;"  a  threshing-machine  moved  by  oxen.     Yarro, 
De  Re  Rust.  i.  52,  gives  a  description  of  it.     Fee  says  that  it  is  still  used 
in  some  parts  of  Europe. 

104  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XVIII. 

others  with  flails.  The  later  wheat  is  cut,  the  more  prolific96 
it  is ;  but  if  it  is  got  in  early,  the  grain  is  finer  and  stronger. 
The  hest  rule  is  to  cut  it  before  the  grain  hardens,  and  just 
as  it  is  changing  colour  :97  though  the  oracles  on  husbandry 
say  that  it  is  better  to  begin  the  harvest  two  days  too  soon 
than  two  days  too  late.  Winter  and  other  wheat  must  be 
treated  exactly  the  same  way  both  on  the  threshing-floor  and 
in  the  granary.  Spelt,  as  it  is  difficult  to  be  threshed,  should 
be  stored  with  the  chaff  on,  being  only  disengaged  of  the  straw 
and  the  beard. 

Many  countries  make  use  of  chaff"  for  hay;  the  smoother 
arid  thinner  it  is,  and  the  more  nearly  resembling  dust,  the 
better  ;  hence  it  is  that  the  chaff"  of  millet  is  considered  the 
best,  that  of  barlej'  being  the  next  best,  and  that  of  wheat  the 
worst  of  all,  except  for  beasts  that  are  hard  worked.  In  stony 
places  they  break  the  haulms,  when  dry,  with  staves,  for  the 
cattle  to  lie  upon :  if  there  is  a  deficiency  of  chaff,  the  straw 
as  well  is  ground  for  food.  The  following  is  the  method  em- 
ployed in  preparing  it :  it  is  cut  early  and  sprinkled  with  bay 
salt,1  after  which  it  is  dried  and  rolled  up  in  trusses,  and  given 
to  the  oxen  as  wanted,  instead  of  hay.  Some  persons  set  fire 
to  the  stubble  in  the  fields,  a  plan  that  has  been  greatly  ex- 
tolled by  Virgil  :2  the  chief  merit  of  it  is  that  the  seed  of  the 
weeds  is  effectually  destroyed.  The  diversity  of  the  methods 
employed  in  harvesting  mainly  depends  upon  the  extent  of  the 
crops  and  the  price  of  labour. 


Connected  with  this  branch  of  our  subject  is  the  method  of 
storing  corn.  Some  persons  recommend  that  granaries  should 
be  built  for  the  purpose  at  considerable  expense,  the  walls 

96  On  the  contrary,  Fee  says,  the  risk  is  greater  from  the  depredations 
of  birds,  and  the  chance  of  the  grain  falling  out  in  cutting,  and  gathering 
in.    Spelt  and  rye  may  be  left  much  longer  than  wheat  or  oats. 

97  Columella,  IS.  ii.  c.  i.,  gives  the  same  advice. 

98  "  Palea"  seems  here  to  mean   "chaff;"  though  Fee  understands  it 
as  meaning  straw. 

99  The  chaif  of  millet,  and  not  the  straw,  must  evidently  be  intended  here, 
for  he  says  above  that  the  straw — "  culmus  " — of  millet  is  generally  burnt. 

1  Muria  dura. 

2  Georg.  i.  84,  et  seq.     Fee  says  that  Virgil  has  good  reason  for  his 
commendations,  as  it  is  a  most  excellent  plan. 

Chap.  73.]  THK    METHODS    OF    STOKING   CORN".  105 

being  made  of  brick,  and  not  less  than  three3  feet  thick ;  the 
corn,  they  say,  should  be  let  in  from  above,  the  air  bei rig- 
carefully  excluded,  and  no  windows  allowed.  Others,  again, 
say  that  the  granary  should  have  an  aspect  in  no  direction  but 
the  north-east  or  north,  and  that  the  walls  should  be  built 
without  lime,  that  substance  being  extremely  injurious4  to 
corn  ;  as  to  what  we  find  recommended  in  reference  to  am  urea 
of  olives,  we  have  already  mentioned  it  on  a  former6  occasion. 
In  some  places  they  build  their  granaries  of  wood,  and  upon 
pillars,6  thinking  it  the  best  plan  to  leave  access  for  the  air  on 
every  side,  and  from  below  even.  Some  persons  think,  how- 
ever, that  the  grain  diminishes  in  bulk  if  laid  on  a  floor  above 
the  level  of  the  ground,  and  that  it  is  liable  to  ferment  beneath 
a  roof  of  tiles.  Many  persons  say,  too,  that  the  grain  should 
never  be  stirred  up  to  air7  it,  as  the  weevil  is  never  known  to 
penetrate  beyond  four  fingers  in  depth  ;  consequently,  beyond 
that  depth  there  is  no  danger.  According  to  Columella,8  the 
west  wind  is  beneficial  to  grain,  a  thing  that  surprises  me,  as 
that  wind  is  generally  a  very  parching9  one.  Some  persons 
recommend  that,  before  housing  the  corn,  a  bramble-frog 
should  be  hung  up  by  one  of  the  hind  legs  at  the  threshold  of 
the  granary.  To  me  it  appears  that  the  most  important  pre- 
caution of  all  is  to  house  the  grain  at  the  proper  time;  for  if 
it  is  unripe  when  cut,  arid  not  sufficiently  firm,  or  if  it  is  got 
in  in  a  heated  state,  it  follows  of  necessity  that  noxious  in- 
sects will  breed  in  it. 

There  are  several  causes  which  contribute  to  the  preserva- 
tion of  grain ;  the  outer10  coats  in  some  kinds  are  more  nu- 
merous, as  in  millet,  for  instance  ;  the  juices  are  of  an  olea- 
ginous nature,11  and  so  supply  ample  moisture,  as  in  sesame, 
for  example ;  while  in  other  kinds,  again,  they  are  naturally 

3  Palladius,  i.  19,  says  two  feet. 

4  On  account  of  the  damp.     Columella,  however,  recommends  a  mix- 
ture of  sand,  lime,  and  marc  of  olives  for  the  floor;  B.  i.  c.  6. 

5  InB.  xv.  c.  8. 

6  This  is  still  done  in  the  Valais,  and  lias  the  great  merit  of  preserving 
the  corn  from  house  and  field-mice. 

7  "  Ventilare."     On  the  contrary,  the  weevil  penetrates  deep,  and  does 
not  keep  near  the  surface. 

»  De  Re  Rust.  ii.  21.  9  See  B.  ii.  c.  48. 

10  Those  keep  the  best,  Fee  says,  which  have  a  farinaceous  perisperni. 
Millet  has  but  one  coat 

11  This,  in  reality,  would  tend  to  make  them  turn  rancid  all  the  sooner. 


bitter,12  as  in  the  lupine  and  the  chicheling  vetch.  It  is  in 
wheat  more  particularly  that  insects  breed,  as  it  is  apt  to  heat 
from  the  density  of  its  juices,  and  the  grain  is  covered  with  a 
thick  bran.  In  barley  the  chaff  is  thinner,  and  the  same  is  the 
case  with  all  the  leguminous  seeds :  it  is  for  this  reason  that  they 
do  not  ordinarily  breed  insects.  The  bean,  however,  is  covered 
with  a  coat  of  a  thicker  substance  ;  and  hence  it  is  that  it  fer- 
ments. Some  persons  sprinkle  wheat,  in  order  to  make  it 
keep  the  longer,  with  amurca13  of  olives,  a  quadrantal  to  a 
thousand  modii :  others,  again,  with  powdered  Chalcidian  or 
Carian  chalk,  or  with  worm-wood.14  There  is  a  certain  earth 
found  at  Olynthus,  and  at  Cerinthus,  in  Euboea,  which  pre- 
vents grain  from  spoiling.  If  garnered  in  the  ear,  grain  is 
hardly  ever  found  to  suffer  any  injury. 

The  best  plan,  however,  of  preserving  grain,  is  to  lay  it  up 
in  trenches,  called  "  siri,"  as  they  do  in  Cappadocia,  Thracia, 
Spain,  and  at  *  *  *  in  Africa.  Particular  care  is  taken  to 
dig  these  trenches  in  a  dry  soil,  and  a  layer  of  chaff  is  then 
placed  at  the  bottom  ;  the  grain,  too,  is  always  stored  in  the 
ear.  In  this  case,  if  no  air  is  allowed  to  penetrate  to  the  corn, 
we  may  rest  assured  that  no  noxious  insects  will  ever  breed 
in  it.  Yarro15  says,  that  wheat,  if  thus  stored,  will  keep  as 
long  as  fifty  years,  and  millet  a  hundred  ;  and  he  assures  us 
that  beans  and  other  leguminous  grain,  if  put  away  in  oil  jars 
with  a  covering  of  ashes,  will  keep  for  a  great  length  of  time. 
He  makes  a  statement,  also,  to  the  effect  that  some  beans  were 
preserved  in  a  cavern  in  Ambracia  from  the  time  of  King 
Pyrrhus  until  the  Piratical  War  of  Pompeius  Magnus,  a  period 
of  about  two  hundred  and  twenty  years. 

The  chick-pea  is  the  only  grain  in  which  no  insect  will 
breed  while  in  the  granary.  Some  persons  place  upon  the 
heaps  of  the  leguminous  grains  pitchers  full  of  vinegar  and 
coated  with  pitch,  a  stratum  of  ashes  being  laid  beneath ;  and 
they  fancy  that  if  this  is  done,  no  injury  will  happen.  Some, 
again,  store  them  in  vessels  which  have  held  salted  provisions, 
with  a  coating  of  plaster  on  the  top,  while  other  persons  are 

12  And  so  repel  the  attacks  of  insects. 

13  This  would  not  only  spoil  the  flavour,  but  absolutely  injure  the  corn 
as  well. 

14  This  also,  if  practised  to  any  extent,  would  infallibly  spoil  the  grain. 

15  De  Ee  Rust.  i.  57. 

Chap.  74.]  THE    VINTAGE .  107 

in  the  habit  of  sprinkling  lentils  with  vinegar  scented  with 
laser,1'  and,  when  dry,  giving  them  a  covering  of  oil.  But 
the  most  effectual  method  of  all  is  to  get  in  everything 
that  you  would  preserve  from  injury  at  the  time  of  the 
moon's  conjunction  ;  and  hence  it  is  of  the  greatest  impor- 
tance to  know,  when  getting  in  the  harvest,  whether  it  is 
for  garnering  or  whether  for  immediate  sale.  If  cut  during  the 
increase  of  the  moon,  grain  will  increase  in  size. 


In  accordance  with  the  ordinary  divisions  of  the  year,  we 
now  come  to  autumn,  a  period  which  extends  from  the  setting 
of  the  Lyre  to  the  autumnal  equinox,  and  from  that  to  the 
setting  of  the  Vergiliae  and  the  beginning  of  winter.  In  these 
intervals,  the  more  important  periods  are  marked  by  the  rising 
of  the  Horse  to  the  people  of  Attica,  in  the  evening  of  the  day 
before 17  the  ides  of  August ;  upon  which  day  also  the  Dolphin 
sets  in  Egypt,  and,  according  to  Cresar,  in  Italy.  On  the 
eleventh 18  before  the  calends  of  September,  the  star  called  the 
Vintager  begins  to  rise  in  the  morning,  according  to  Caesar's 
reckoning,  and  to  the  people  of  Assyria :  it  announces  the 
ripening  of  the  vintage,  a  sure  sign  of  which  is  the  change  of 
colour  in  the  grape.  On  the  fifth 10  before  the  calends  of  Sep- 
tember, the  Arrow  sets  in  Assyria,  and  the  Etesian  winds  cease 
to  blow :  on  the  nones  20  of  September,  the  Vintager  rises  in 
Egypt,  and  in  the  morning  of  that  day,  Arcturus  rises  to  the 
people  of  Attica  :  on  the  same  morning,  too,  the  Arrow  sets. 
On  the  fifth  before 21  the  ides  of  September,  according  to  Caesar, 
the  She-Goat  rises  in  the  evening ;  and  one  half  of  Arcturus 
becomes  visible  on  the  day  before22  the  ides  of  September,  being 
portentous 23  of  boisterous  weather  for  five  days,  both  by  land 
and  sea. 

The  theory  relative  to  the  effects  produced  by  Arcturus,  is 
stated  in  the  following  terms :  if  showers  prevail,  it  is  said,  at 
the  setting  of  the  Dolphin,  they  will  not  cease  so  long  as 
Arcturus  is  visible.  The  departure  of  the  swallows  may  be 

18  See  B.  xix.  c.  15  :  also  Columella,  De  Re  Rust.B.  ii.  c.  10. 

17  Twelfth  of  August.  18  Twenty-second  of  August. 

19  Twenty-eighth  of  August.  20  Fifth  of  September. 

21  Ninth  of  September.  22  Twelfth  of  September. 

23  See  the  Rudens  of  Plautus,  Prol.  1.  69. 


looked  upon  as  the  sign  of  the  rising  of  Arcturus ;  for  if  over- 
taken by  it,  they  are  sure  to  perish. 

On  the  sixteenth  day  before 24  the  calends  of  October,  the 
Ear  of  Corn,  which  Virgo  holds,  rises  to  the  people  of  Egypt  in 
the  morning,  and  by  this  day  the  Etesian  winds  have  quite 
ceased  to  blow.  According  to  Caesar,  this  constellation  rises  on 
the  fourteenth  ^  before  the  calends,  and  it  affords  its  prognostics 
to  the  Assyrians  on  the  thirteenth.  On  the  eleventh  before26 
the  calends  of  October,  the  point  of  junction27  in  Pisces  disap- 
pears, and  upon  the  eighth 28  is  the  autumnal  equinox.  It  is 
a  remarkable  fact,  and  rarely  the  case,  that  Philippus,  Callip- 
pus,  Dositheus,  Parmeniscus,  Conon,29  Criton,  Democritus,  and 
Eudoxus,  all  agree  that  the  She-Goat  rises  in  the  morning  of 
the  fourth  before  30  the  calends  of  October,  and  on  the  third 31 
the  Kids.  On  the  sixth  day  before  32  the  nones  of  October,  the 
Crown  rises  in  the  morning  to  the  people  of  Attica,  and  upon 
the  morning  of  the  fifth,33  the  Charioteer  sets.  On  the  fourth 
before34  the  nones  of  October,  the  Crown,  according  to  Caesar's 
reckoning,  begins  to  rise,  and  on  the  evening  of  the  day  after 
is  the  setting  of  the  constellation  of  the  Kids.  On  the  eighth 
before 35  the  ides  of  October,  according  to  Caesar,  the  bright 
star  rises  that  shines  in  the  Crown,  and  on  the  evening  of  the 
sixth  before 36  the  ides  the  Vergiliae,  rise.  Upon  the  ides 37  of 
October,  the  Crown  has  wholly  risen.  On  the  seventeenth  be- 
fore38 the  calends  of  November,  the  Suculse  rise  in  the  evening, 
and  on  the  day  before  the  calends,  according  to  Caesar's  reckon- 
ing, Arcturus  sets,  and  the  Suculas39  rise  with  the  sun.  In  the 
evening  of  the  fourth  day  before 40  the  nones  of  November, 
Arcturus  sets.  On  the  fifth  before 41  the  ides  of  November, 
Orion's  Sword  begins  to  set;  and  on  the  third 42  before  the 
ides  the  Vergiliae  set. 

24  Sixteenth  of  September.  25  Eighteenth  of  September. 

26  Twenty-first  of  September  27  Commissura. 

28  Twenty-fourth  of  September. 

29  Mentioned  by  Virgil,  Eccl.  iii.  1.  38,  and  by  Propertius,  Eleg.  iv.  1. 

30  Twenty-eighth  of  September.        3I  Twenty-ninth  of  September. 
32  Second  of  October.  33  Third  of  October. 

34  Fourth  of  October.  85  Eighth  of  October. 

36  Tenth  of  October.  s<  Fifteenth  of  October. 

38  Sixteenth  of  October.  39  Or  Hyades,  see  C.  66. 

40  Second  of  November,  41  Ninth  of  November. 
42  Eleventh  of  November. 

Chap.  74.]  THE    VINTAGE.  109 

In  this  interval  of  time,  the  rural  operations  consist  in  sowing 
rape  and  turnips,  upon  the  days  which  have  been  mentioned  on 
a  previous  occasion.43  The  people  in  the  country  are  of  opinion, 
that  it  is  not  a  good  plan  to  sow  rape  after  the  departure  of  the 
stork ;  but  for  my  own  part,  I  am  of  opinion  that  it  should 
be  sown  after  the  Yulcanalia,  and  the  early  kind  at  the  same 
time  as  panic.  After  the  setting  of  the  Lyre,  vetches  should 
be  sown,  kidney-beans  and  hay-grass  :  it  is  generally  recom- 
mended that  this  should  be  done  while  the  moon  is  in  con- 
junction. This,  too,  is  the  proper  time  for  gathering  in  the 
leaves  :  it  is  fair  work  for  one  woodman,  to  fill  four  baskets 44 
in  the  day.  If  the  leaves  are  gathered  while  the  moon  is  on 
the  wane,  they  will  not  decay  ;  they  ought  not  to  be  dry, 
however,  when  gathered. 

The  ancients  were  of  opinion,  that  the  vintage  is  never  ripe 
before  the  equinox ;  but  at  the  present  day  I  find  that  it  is 
gathered  in  before  that  period  ;  it  will  be  as  well,  therefore, 
to  give  the  signs  and  indications  by  which  the  proper  moment 
may  be  exactly  ascertained.  The  rules  for  getting  in  the  vin- 
tage are  to  the  following  effect:  Never  gather  the  grape  in  a 
heated  state,45  or  in  other  words,  when  the  weather  is  dry,  and 
before  the  rains  have  fallen  ;  nor  ought  it  to  be  gathered  when 
covered  with  dew, — or  in  other  words,  when  dews  have  fallen 
during  the  night, — nor  yet  before  the  dews  have  been  dispelled 
by  the  sun.  Commence  the  vintage  when  the  bearing-shoots 
begin  to  recline  upon  the  stem,  or  when,  after  a  grape  is  re- 
moved from  the  bunch,  the  space  left  empty  is  not  rilled  up ; 
this  being  a  sure  proof  that  the  berry  has  ceased  to  increase  in 
size.  It  is  of  the  greatest  consequence  to  the  grape,  that  it 
should  be  gathered  while  the  moon  is  on  the  increase.  Each 
pressing  should  fill  twenty  culei,46  that  boing  the  fair  propor- 
tion. To  fill  twenty  culei  and  vats  47  from  twenty  jugera  of 
vineyard,  a  single  press  will  be  enough.  In  pressing  the  grape, 
some  persons  use  a  single  press- board,  but  it  is  a  better  plan 

43  In  c.  35  of  this  Book. 

44  "  Frondarias  fiscinas."    These  must  have  been  baskets  of  a  very  large 
size.     The  leaves  were  used  for  fodder. 

45  This,  Fee  says,  is  diametrically  opposite  to  the  modern  practice. 

46  The  u  culeus,"  it  is  supposed,  was  of  the  same  measure  of  capacity  as  the 
"dolium,"and  held  twenty  amphorae.    The  "  pressura,"  or  "pressing,"  was 
probably  the  utmost  quantity  that  the  pressing  vat  would  hold  at  one  time. 

47  *•*  Lac  us." 

110  PLINY'S   NATURAL   HISTOHT.  [Book  XVII 1. 

to  employ  two,  however  large  the  single  ohes  may  be.  It  is  the 
length  of  them  that  is  of  the  greatest  consequence,  and  not  the 
thickness  :  if  wide,  however,  they  press  the  fruit  all  the  better. 
The  ancients  used  to  screw  down  the  press-boards  with  ropes 
and  leather  thongs,  worked  by  levers.  Within  the  last  hundred 
years  the  Greek  press  has  been  invented,  with  thick  spiral 
grooves  running  down  the48  stem.  To  this  stem  there  are 
spokes  attached,  which  project  like  the  rays  of  a  star,  and  by 
means  of  which  the  stem  is  made  to  lift  a  box  filled  with  stones 
— a  method  that  is  very  highly  approved  of.  It  is  only  within 
the  last  two-and-twenty  years,  that  a  plan  has  been  discovered 
of  employing  smaller  press-boards,  and  a  less  unwieldy  press  : 
to  effect  this,  the  height  has  been  reduced,  and  the  stem  of  the 
screw  placed  in  the  middle,  the  whole  pressure  being  concen- 
trated upon  broad  planks 49  placed  over  the  grapes,  which  are 
covered  also  with  heavy  weights  above. 

This  is  the  proper  time  for  gathering  fruit ;  the  best  moment 
for  doing  so  is  when  it  has  begun  to  fall  through  ripeness, 
and  not  from  the  effects  of  the  weather.  This  is  the  season, 
too,  for  extracting  the  lees  of  wine,  and  for  boiling  defrutum  i50 
this  last  must  be  done  on  a  night  when  there  is  no  moon,  or  if 
it  is  a  full  moon,  in  the  day-tirne.  At  other  times  of  the  year, 
it  must  be  done  either  before  the  moon  has  risen,  or  after  it 
has  set.  The  grapes  employed  for  this  purpose  should  never 
be  gathered  from  a  young  vine,  nor  yet  from  a  tree  that  is 
grown  in  a  marshy  spot,  nor  should  any  grapes  be  used  but 
those  that  are  perfectly  ripe  :  the  liquor,  too,  should  never  be 
skimmed  with  anything  but  a  leaf,61  for  if  the  vessel  should 
happen  to  be  touched  with  wood,  the  liquor,  it  is  generally 
thought,  will  have  a  burnt  and  smoky  flavour. 

The  proper  time  for  the  vintage  is  between  the  equinox  and 
the  setting  of  the  Vergilise,  a  period  of  forty-four  days.  It  is 
a  saying  among  the  growers,  that  to  pitch  wine- vessels  after 
that  day,  in  consequence  of  the  coldness  of  the  weather,  is  only 
so  much  time  lost.  Still,  however,  I  have  seen,  before  nov,r, 
persons  getting  in  the  vintage  on  the  calends  of  January  52 

48  "  Mali  rugis  per  cocleas  bullantibus."     The  whole  of  this  passage  is 
full  of  difficulties. 

49  "  Tympana ;"  literally,  "  drums." 

50  Grape  juice  boiled  down  to  one  half;  see  B.  xiv.  c.  9. 

51  Virgil  mentions  this  in  the  Georgics,  B  i.  295.      Of  course,  it  is  no- 
thing but  an  absurd  superstition. 

52  First  of  January. 

Chap.  75.]          THE    REVOLUTIONS    OF    THE   MOON.  Ill 

even,  in  consequence  of  the  want  of  wine-vessels,  and  putting 
the  must  into  receivers,53  or  else  pouring  the  old  wine  out  of 
its  vessels,  to  make  room  for  new  liquor  of  a  very  doubtful 
quality.  This,  however,  happens  not  so  often  in  consequence 
of  an  over-abundant  crop,  as  through  carelessness,  or  else  the 
avarice  which  leads  people  to  wait  for  a  rise  in  prices.  The 
method  that  is  adopted  by  the  most  economical  managers,  is 
to  use  the  produce  supplied  by  each  year,64  and  this,  too,  is 
found  in  the  end  the  most  lucrative  mode  of  proceeding.  As 
for  the  other  details  relative  to  wines,  they  have  been  discussed 
at  sufficient  length  already  ;55  and  it  has  been  stated  on  a  pre- 
vious occasion,66  that  as  soon  as  the  vintage  is  got  in,  the  olives 
should  at  once  be  gathered,  with  other  particulars  relative 
to  the  olive  after  the  setting  of  the  Vergilise. 

CHAP.    75.   (32.) THE  [REVOLUTIONS  OF  TDE  MOON. 

I  shall  now  proceed  to  add  some  necessary  information  re- 
lative to  the  moan,  the  winds,  and  certain  signs  and  prognos- 
tics, in  order  that  I  may  complete  the  observations  I  have  to 
make  with  reference  to  the  sidereal  system.  Virgil67  has  even 
gone  so  far,  in  imitation  of  Democritus,  as  to  assign  certain 
operations  to  certain  days58  of  the  moon  ;  but  my  sole  object 
shall  be,  as,  indeed,  it  has  been  throughout  this  work,  to  con- 
sult that  utility  which  is  based  upon  a  knowledge  and  appre- 
ciation of  general  principles. 

All  vegetable  productions  are  cut,  gathered,  and  housed  to 
more  advantage  while  the  moon  is  on  the  wane  than  while  it 
is  on  the  increase.  Manure  must  never  be  touched  except 
•when  the  moon  is  on  the  wane  ;  and  land  must  be  manured 
more  particularly  while  the  moon  is  in  conjunction,  or  else  at 
the  first  quarter.  Take  care  to  geld  your  boars,  bulls,  rams, 
and  kids,  while  the  moon  is  on  the  wane.  Put  eggs  under  the 
lien  at  a  new  moon.  Make  your  ditches  in  the  night-time, 
when  the  moon  is  at  full.  Cover  up  the  roots  of  trees,  while 
the  moon  is  at  full.  Where  the  soil  is  humid,  put  in  seed 

53  Piscinis. 

54  /.  e.  before  getting  in  the  next  year's  crop.  Of  course,  he  alludes  only 
to  wines  of  an  inferior  class,  used  for  domestic  consumption. 

65  In  B.  xiv.  5G  In  13.  xv.  c.  3. 

57  Georg.  i.  276. 

ss  In  contradistinction  to  the  two  periods  of  full  moon,  and  change  of 
the  moon,  the  only  epochs  in  reference  to  it  noticed  by  I'liuy. 

112  PLllsVs    NATURAL   HISTORY.  [Book  XVIII. 

at  the  moon's  conjunction,  and  during  the  four  days  about 
that  period.  It  is  generally  recommended,  too,  to  give  an  airing 
to  corn  and  the  leguminous  grains,  and  to  garner  them,  towards 
the  end  of  the  moon ;  to  make  seed-plots  when  the  moon 
is  above  the  horizon ;  and  to  tread  out  the  grape,  to  fell  tim- 
ber, and  to  do  many  other  things  that  have  been  mentioned 
in  their  respective  places,  when  the  moon  is  below  it. 

The  observation  of  the  moon,  in  general,  as  already  ob- 
served in  the  Second  Book,59  is  not  so  very  easy,  but  what  I 
am  about  here  to  state  even  rustics  will  be  able  to  comprehend : 
so  long  as  the  moon  is  seen  in  the  west,  and  during  the  earlier 
hours  of  the  night,  she  will  be  on  the  increase,  and  one  half 
of  her  disk  will  be  perceived ;  but  when  the  moon  is  seen  to 
rise  at  sun- set  and  opposite  to  the  sun,  so  that  they  are  both 
perceptible  at  the  same  moment,  she  will  be  at  full.  Again, 
as  often  as  the  moon  rises  in  the  east,  and  does  not  give  her 
light  in  the  earlier  hours  of  the  night,  but  shows  herself 
during  a  portion  of  the  day,  she  will  be  on  the  wane,  and  one 
half  of  her  only  will  again  be  perceptible  :  when  the  moon  has 
ceased  to  be  visible,  she  is  in  conjunction,  a  period  known  to 
lisas  "  interlunium."60  During  the  conjunction,  the  moon  will 
be  above  the  horizon  the  same  time  as  the  sun,  for  the  whole 
of  the  first  day;  on  the  second,  she  will  advance  upon  the 
night  ten- twelfths  of  an  hour  and  one-fourth  of  a  twelfth  ;61 
on  the  third  day,  the  same  as  on  the  second,  and  *  *  *  so  on 
in  succession  up  to  the  fifteenth  day,  the  same  proportional  parts 
of  an  hour  being  added  each  day.  On  the  fifteenth  day  she  will 
be  above  the  horizon  all  night,  and  below  it  all  day.  On  the 
sixteenth,  she  will  remain  below  the  horizon  ten-twelfths  of 
an  hour,  and  one-fourth  of  a  twelfth,  at  the  first  hour  of  the 
night,  and  so  on  in  the  same  proportion  day  after  clay,  up  to 
the  period  of  her  conjunction  ;  and  thus,  the  same  time  which, 
by  remaining  under  the  horizon,  she  withdraws  from  the  first 
part  of  the  night,  she  will  add  to  the  end  of  the  night  by 
remaining  above  the  horizon.  Her  revolutions,  too,  will 
occupy  thirty  days  one  month,  and  twenty-nine  the  next,  and 
so  on  alternately.  Such  is  the  theory  of  the  revolutions  of 
the  moon. 

59  In  Chapters  6,  7,  8  and  11. 

GO  or  "between  moons."     The  "  change  of  the  moon,''  as  we  call  it. 

61  51  ±  minutes. 

Chap.  76.]              THE   THEOJJY   OF    THE   WINDS.  113 

CHAP.   76.   (33.) THE  THEORY  OF  THE  WINDS. 

The  theory  of  the  winds62  is  of  a  somewhat  more  intricate 
nature.  After  observing  the  quarter  in  which  the  sun  rises 
on  any  given  day,  at  the  sixth63  hour  of  the  day  take  your 
position  in  such  a  manner  as  to  have  the  point  of  the  sun's 
rising  on  your  left ;  you  will  then  have  the  south  directly 
facing  you,  and  the  north  at  your  back  :  a  line  drawn  through 
a  field  in  this  direction64  is  called  the  "  cardinal"65  line.  The 
observer  must  then  turn  round,  so  as  to  look  upon  his  shadow, 
for  it  will  be  behind  him.  Having  thus  changed  his  position, 
so  as  to  bring  the  point  of  the  sun's  rising  -on  that  day  to  the 
right,  and  that  of  his  setting  to  the  left,  it  will  be  the  sixth 
hour  of  the  day,  at  the  moment  when  the  shadow  straight 
before  him  is  the  shortest.  Through  the  middle  of  this 
shado\v,  taken  lengthwise,  a  furrow  must  be  traced  in  the 
ground  with  a  hoe,  or  else  a  line  drawn  with  ashes,  some 
twenty  feet  in  length,  say ;  in  the  middle  of  this  line,  or,  in 
other  words,  at  the  tenth  foot  in  it,  a  small  circle  must  then 
be  described :  to  this  circle  we  may  give  the  name  of  the 
"  umbilicus,"  or  "  navel."  That  point  in  the  line  which  lies 
on  the  side  of  the  head  of  the  shadow  will  be  the  point  from 
which  the  north  wind  blows.  You  who  are  engaged  in  prun- 
ing trees,  be  it  your  care  that  the  incisions  made  in  the  wood 
do  not  face  this  point ;  nor  should  the  vine-trees66  or  the  vines 
have  this  aspect,  except  in  the  climates  of  Africa,67  Cyrense,  or 
Egypt.  When  the  wind  blows,  too,  from  this  point,  you  must 
never  plough,  nor,  in  fact,  attempt  any  other  of  the  operations 
of  which  we  shall  have  to  make  mention.68 

That  part  of  the  line  which  lies  between  the  umbilicus  and 
the  feet  of  the  shadow  will  look  towards  the  south,  and  indi- 
cate the  point  from  which  the  south  wind69  blows,  to  which, 
as  already  mentioned,70  the  Greeks  have  given  the  name  of 
Notus.  "When  the  wind  comes  from  this  quarter,  you,  hr.r- 
bandman,  must  never  fell  wood  or  touch  the  vine.  In  Italy 

62  Many  of  his  statements  are  drawn  from  Aristotle's  Treatise,  "  De 
II undo."  63  Our  mid-day. 

64  From  due  north  to  due  south.  6i}  Cardo. 

66  "  Arbusta."     The  trees  on  which  the  vines  were  trained. 

67  /.  e.  the  north-west  of  Africa ;  the  Roman  province  so  called. 

68  In  the  next  Chapter.  69  Ventus  Auster. 
70  In  B.  ii.  c.  46. 

VOL.    IV.  I 


this  wind  is  either  humid  or  else  of  a  burning  heat,  and  in 
Africa  it  is  accompanied  with  intense  heat71  and  fine  clear 
weather.  In  Italy  the  hearing  branches  should  be  trained  to 
face  this  quarter,  but  the  incisions  made  in  the  trees  or  vines 
when  pruned  must  never  face  it.  Let  those  be  on  their  guard 
against  this  wind  upon  the  four72  days  at  the  rising  of  the 
Vergilise,  who  are  engaged  in  planting  the  olive,  as  well  as 
those  who  are  employed  in  the  operations  of  grafting  or  ino- 

It  will  be  as  well,  too,  here  to  give  some  advice,  in  reference 
to  the  climate  of  Italy,  as  to  certain  precautions  to  be  observed 
at  certain  hours  of  the  day.  You,  woodman,  must  never  lop 
the  branches  in  the  middle  of  the  day ;  and  you,  shepherd, 
when  you  see  midday  approaching  in  summer,  and  the  shadow 
gradually  decreasing,  drive  your  flocks  from  out  of  the  sun 
into  some  well- shaded  spot.  When  you  lead  the  flocks  to  pas- 
ture in  summer,  let  them  face  the  west  before  midday,73  and 
after  that  time,  the  east :  if  this  precaution  is  not  adopted, 
calamitous  results  will  ensue ;  the  same,  too,  if  the  flocks  are 
led  in  winter  or  spring  to  pastures  covered  with  dew.  Nor 
must  you  let  them  feed  with  their  faces  to  the  north,  as  already 
mentioned:74  for  the  wind  will  either  close  their  eyes  or  else 
make  them  bleared,  and  they  will  die  of  looseness.  If  you  wish 
to  have  females,75  you  should  let  the  dams  have  their  faces  to- 
wards the  north  while  being  covered. 

CHAP.   77.  (34.) — THE  LAYING  OUT  OF   LANDS   ACCORDING    TO*  THE 

We  have  already  stated76  that  the  umbilicus  should  be  de- 
scribed in  the  middle  of  the  line.  Let  another  line  be  drawn 
transversely  through  the  middle  of  it,  and  it  will  be  found  to 
run  from  due  east  to  due  west ;  a  trench  cut  through  the  land 
in  accordance  with  this  line  is  known  by  the  name  of  "  decu- 
manus."  Two  other  lines  must  then  be  traced  obliquely 
across  them  in  the  form  of  the  letter  X,  in  such  a  way  as  to 

71  Incendia. 

72  See  B.  xvii.  c.  2.  73  See  B.  viii.  c.  75. 

74  He  seems  to  be  in  error  here,  as  he  has  nowhere  made  mention  of  this. 

75  Aristotle,  on  the  other  hand,  and  Columella,  B.  vii.  c.  3,  say  "  males." 
See  also  B.  viii.  c.  72,  where  males  are  mentioned  in  connection  with  the 
north-wind.     Also  the  next  Chapter  in  this  Book. 

7«  In  the  last  Chapter 

Chap.  77.]  THE    LAYING    OUT    OF    LANDS.  115 

run  exactly  from  right  and  left  of  the  northern  point  to  loft 
and  right  of  the  southern  one.  All  these  lines  must  pass 
through  the  centre  of  the  umbilicus,  and  all  must  be  of  corre- 
sponding length,  arid  at  equal  distances.  This  method  should 
always  he  adopted  in  laying  out  land  ;  or  if  it  should  be  found 
necessary  to  employ  it  frequently,  a  plan"  of  it  may  be  made 
in  wood,  sticks  of  equal  length  being  fixed  upon  the  surface 
of  a  small  tambour,78  but  perfectly  round.  In  the  method 
which  1  am  here  explaining,  it  is  necessary  to  point  out  one 
precaution  that  must  always  be  observed  by  those  who  are 
unacquainted  with  the  subject.  The  point  that  must  be  veri- 
fied first  of  all  is  the  south,  as  that  is  always  the  same;  but 
the  pun,  it  must  be  remembered,  rises  every  day  at  a  point  in 
the  heavens  different  to  that  of  his  rising  on  the  day  before, 
so  that  the  east  must  never  be  taken  as  the  basis  for  tracing 
the  lines. 

Having  now  ascertained  the  various  points  of  the  heavens, 
the  extremity  of  the  line  that  is  nearest  to  the  north,  but  lying 
to  the  east  of  it,  will  indicate  the  solstitial  rising,  or,  in  other 
words,  the  rising  of  the  sun  on  the  longest  day,  as  also  the 
point  from  which  the  wind  Aquilo79  blows,  known  to  the  Greeks 
by  the  name  of  Boreas.  You  should  plant  all  trees  and  vines 
facing  this  point,  but  take  care  never  to  plough,  or  sow  corn, 
or  plant  in  seed  plots,  while  this  wind  is  blowing,  for  it  has  the 
effect  of  drying  up  and  blasting  the  roots  of  the  trees  while 
being  transplanted.  Be  taught  in  time — one  thing  is  good  for 
grown  trees,  another  for  them  while  they  are  but  young.  Nor 
have  I  forgotten  the  fact,  that  it  is  at  this  point  of  the  heavens 
that  the  Greeks  place  the  wind,  to  which  they  give  the  name 
of  Caecias  ;  Aristotle,  a  man  of  most  extensive  learning,  who 
has  assigned  to  Ca3cias  this  position,  explains  that  it  is  in  con- 
sequence of  the  convexity  of  the  earth,  that  Aquilo  blows  in 
an  opposite  direction  to  the  wind  called  Africus. 

The  agriculturist,  however,  has  nothing  to  fear  from  Aquilo, 
in  respect  to  the  operations  before  mentioned,  all  the  year 
through ;  for  this  wind  is  softened  by  the  sun  in  the  middle  of 

77  Very  similar  to  our  compass,  but  describing  only  eight  points  of 
the  wind,  instead  of  thirty  two. 

78  it  Tympanum,"  a  drum,  similar  in  shape  to  our  tambourines  or  else 

'»  See  B.  ii.  c.  46. 

116  PLINY'S    NATURAL   HISTOllY.  [Book  XVIII. 

the  summer,  and,  changing  its  name,  is  known  by  that  of  Ete- 
sias.80  When  you  feel  the  cold,  then,  be  on  your  guard  ;  for, 
whatever  the  noxious  effects  that  are  attributed  to  Aquilo,  the 
more  sensibty  will  they  be  felt  when  the  wind  blows  from  due 
north.  In  Asia,  Greece,  Spain,  the  coasts  of  Italy,  Campania, 
and  Apulia,  the  trees  that  support  the  vines,  as  well  as  the 
vines  themselves,  should  have  an  aspect  towards  the  north-east. 
If  you  wish  to  have  male  produce,  let  the  flock  feed  in  such 
a  way,  that  this  wind  may  have  the  opportunity  of  fecunda- 
ting the  male,  whose  office  it  is  to  fecundate  the  females.  The 
wind  Africus,  known  to  the  Greeks  by  the  name  of  Libs,  blows 
from  the  south-west,  the  opposite  point  to  Aquilo;  when 
animals,  after  coupling,  turn  their  heads  towards  this  quarter,81 
you  may  be  sure  that  female  produce  has  been  conceived. 

The  third 82  line  from  the  north,  which  we  have  drawn  trans- 
versely through  the  shadow,  and  called  by  the  name  of  "  de- 
cumanus,"  will  point  due  east,  and  from,  this  quarter  the  wind 
Subsolanus  blows,  by  the  Greeks  called  Apeliotes.  It  is  to 
this  point  that,  in  healthy  localities,  farm-houses  and  vineyards 
are  made  to  look.  This  wind  is  accompanied  with  soft,  gentle 
showers ;  Favonius,  however,  the  wind  that  blows  from  due 
west,  the  opposite  quarter  to  it,  is  of  a  drier  nature  ;  by  the 
Greeks  it  is  known  as  Zephyrus.  Cato  has  recommended  that 
olive-yards  should  look  due  west.  It  is  this  wind  that  begins 
the  spring,  and  opens  the  earth ;  it  is  moderately  cool,  but 
healthy.  As  soon  as  it  begins  to  prevail,  it  indicates  that  the 
time  has  arrived  for  pruning  the  vine,  weeding  the  corn,  plant- 
ing trees,  grafting  fruit-trees,  and  trimming  the  olive ;  for  its 
breezes  are  productive  of  the  most  nutritious  effects. 

The  fourth 83  line  from  the  north,  and  the  one  that  lies  nearest 
the  south  on  the  eastern  side,  will  indicate  the  point  of  the 
sun's  rising  at  the  winter  solstice,  and  the  wind  Volturnus, 
known  by  the  name  of  Eurus  to  the  Greeks.  This  wind  is 
warm  and  dry,  and  beehives  and  vineyards,  in  the  climates  of 
Italy  and  the  Gallic  provinces,  should  face  this  quarter. 
Directly  opposite  to  Volturnus,  the  wind  Corus  blows  ;  it  in- 
dicates the  point  of  the  sun's  setting  at  the  summer  solstice, 

80  Or  the  "  summer"  wind.  81  Africus,  or  south-west. 

82  Or,  according  to  our  mode  of  expression,  the  "second/'  or  "  next 
but  one." 

b3  Or,  as  we  say,  the  "  third.' 

Chap.  78.]         PROGNOSTICS  DERIVED  FROM  THE  SUN.  ll/ 

and  lies  on  the  western  side  next  to  the  north.  By  the  Greeks 
it  is  called  Argestes,  and  is  one  of  the  very  coldest  of  the  winds, 
which,  in  fact,  is  the  case  with  all  the  winds  that  hlow  from  the 
north  ;  this  wind,  too,  brings  hailstorms  with  it,  for  which 
reason  it  is  necessary  to  be  on  our  guard  against  it  no  less  than 
the  north.  If  Volturnus  begins  to  blow  from  a  clear  quarter 
of  the  heavens,  it  will  not  last  till  night ;  but  if  it  is  Subso- 
lanus,  it  will  prevail  for  the  greater  part  of  the  night.  What- 
ever the  wind  that  may  happen  to  be  blowing,  if  it  is  accom- 
panied by  heat,  it  will  be  sure  to  last  for  several  days.  The 
earth  announces  the  approach  of  Aquilo,  by  drying  on  a  sudden, 
while  on  the  approach  of  Auster,  the  surface  becomes  nioisl 
without  any  apparent  cause. 

CHAP.    78.    (35.) — PROGNOSTICS   DERIVED    FROM    THE    SUN. 

Having  now  explained  the  theory  of  the  winds,  it  seems  to 
me  the  best  plan,  in  order  to  avoid  any  repetition,  to  pass  on  to 
the  other  signs  and  prognostics  that  are  indicative  of  a  change 
of  weather.  I  find,  too,  that  this  is  a  kind  of  knowledge  that 
greatly  interested  Virgil,84  for  he  mentions  the  fact,  that  during 
the  harvest  even,  he  has  often  seen  the  winds  engage  in  a 
combat  that  was  absolutely  ruinous  to  the  improvident  agri- 
culturist. There  is  a  tradition,  too,  to  the  effect  that  Demo- 
critus,  already  mentioned,  when  his  brother  Damasus  was  get- 
ting in  his  harvest  in  extremely  hot  weather,  entreated  him  to 
leave  the  rest  of  the  crop,  and  house  with  all  haste  that  which 
had  been  cut ;  and  it  was  only  within  a  very  few  hours  that 
his  prediction  was  verified  by  a  most  violent  storm.  On  the 
other  hand,  it  is  particularl}r  recommended  never  to  plant  reeds 
except  when  rain  is  impending,  and  only  to  sow  corn  just  be- 
fore a  shower  ;  we  shall  therefore  briefly  touch  upon  the  prog- 
nostics of  this  description,  making  enquiry  more  particularly 
into  those  among  them  that  have  been  found  the  most  useful. 

In  the  first  place,  then,  we  will  consider  those  prognostics 
of  the  weather  which  are  derived  from  the  sun.65  If  the  sun  is 
bright  at  its  rising,  and  not  burning  hot,  it  is  indicative  of  fine 

84  Georg.  i.  313,  et  seq. 

"  Sape  ego,  quum  flavis  messorem  induceret  arvis 
Agricola,  et  tragili  jam  stringeret  hordea  culmo, 
Orania  ventorum  concurrere  proelia  vidi." 

85  Sec  the  Treatise  of  Theophrastus  on  the  Prognostics  of  the  Weather. 

118  PLINY'S    NATUBA.L    HISTOET.  [Book  XVIII. 

weather,  but  if  pale,  it  announces  wintry  weather  accompanied 
with  hail.  If  the  sun.  is  bright  and  clear  when  it  sets,  and 
if  it  rises  with  a  similar  appearance,  the  more  assured  of  line 
weather  may  we  feel  ourselves.  If  it  is  hidden  in.  clouds  at 
its  rising,  it  is  indicative  of  rain,  and  of  wind,  when  the  clouds 
are  of  a  reddish  colour  just  before  sunrise  ;  if  black  clouds  are 
intermingled  with  the  red  ones,  they  betoken  rain  as  well. 
When  the  sun's  rays  at  its  rising  or  setting  appear  to  unite, 
rainy  weather  may  be  looked  for.  When  the  clouds  are  red  at 
sunset,  they  give  promise  ^  of  a  fine  day  on  the  morrow ;  but 
if,  at  the  sun's  rising,  the  clouds  are  dispersed  in  various  quar- 
ters, some  to  the  south,  and  some  to  the  north-east,  even  though 
the  heavens  in  the  vicinity  of  the  sun  may  be  bright,  they  are 
significant  of  rain  and  wind.  If  at  the  sun's  rising  or  set- 
ting, its  rays  appear  contracted,  they  announce  the  approach  of 
a  shower.  If  it  rains  at  sunset,  or  if  the  sun's  rays  attract  the 
clouds  towards  them,  it  is  portentous  of  stormy  weather  on  the 
following  day.  When  the  sun,  at  its  rising,  does  not  emit 
vivid  rays,  although  there  are  no  clouds  surrounding  it,  rain 
may  be  expected.  If  before  sunrise  the  clouds  collect  into 
dense  masses,  they  are  portentous  of  a  violent  storm. ;  but  if 
they  are  repelled  from  the  east  and  travel  westward,  they  in- 
dicate fine  weather.  When  clouds  are  seen  surrounding  the 
face  of  the  sun,  the  less  the  light  they  leave,  the  more  violent 
the  tempest  will  be  :  but  if  they  form  a  double  circle  round 
the  sun,  the  storm  will  be  a  dreadful  one.  If  this  takes  place 
at  sunrise  or  sunset,  and  the  clouds  assume  a  red  hue,  the  ap- 
proach of  a  most  violent  storm  is  announced  :  and  if  the  clouds 
hang  over  the  face  of  the  sun  without  surrounding  it,  they 
presage  wind  from  the  quarter  from  which  they  are  drifting, 
and  rain  as  well,  if  they  come  from  the  south. 

If,  at  its  rising,  the  sun  is  surrounded  with  a  circle,  wind 
may  be  looked  for  in  the  quarter  in  which  the  circle  breaks  ; 
but  if  it  disappears  equally  throughout,  it  is  indicative  of  fine 
weather.  If  the  sun  at  its  rising  throws  out  its  rays  afar 
through  the  clouds,  and  the  middle  of  its  disk  is  clear,  there 
will  be  rain ;  and  if  its  rays  are  seen  before  it  rises,  both  rain 
and  wind  as  well.  If  a  white  circle  is  seen  round  the  sun  at 
its  setting,  there  will  be  a  slight  storm  in  the  night ;  but  if  there 

86  This,  Fee  observes,  is  confirmed  by  experience.  Aratus,  as  translated 
by  Avienus,  states  to  a  similar  effect. 

Cbap.  79.]       PROGNOSTICS  DERIVED  FROM  THE  MOON.  119 

is  a  mist  around  it,  the  storm  will  be  more  violent.  If  the  sun 
is  pale  at  sunset,  there  will  be  wind,  and  if  there  is  a  dark 
circle  round  it,  high  winds  will  arise  in  the  quarter  in  which 
the  circle  breaks. 


The  prognostics  derived  from  the  moon,  assert  their  right  to 
occupy  our  notice  in  the  second  place.  In  Egypt,  attention  is 
paid,  more  particularly,  to  the  fourth  day  of  the  moon.  If, 
when  the  moon  rises,  she  shines  with  a  pure  bright  light,  it  is 
generally  supposed  that  we  shall  have  fine  weather;  but  if  she 
is  red,  there  will  be  wind,  and  if  of  a  swarthy87  hue,  rain.  If 
upon  the  fifth  day  of  the  moon  her  horns  are  obtuse,  they  are 
always  indicative  of  rain,  but  if  sharp  and  erect,  of  wind,  and 
this  on  the  fourth  day  of  the  moon  more  particularly.  If  her 
northern  horn  is  pointed  and  erect,  it  portends  wind ;  and  if  it 
is  the  lower  horn  that  presents  this  appearance,  the  wind  will 
be  from  the  south ;  if  both  of  them  are  erect,  there  will  be 
high  winds  in  the  night.  If  upon  the  fourth  day  of  the  moon 
she  is  surrounded  by  a  red  circle,  it  is  portentous  of  wind  and 

In  Varro  we  find  it  stated  to  the  following  effect : — "  If,  at 
the  fourth  day  of  the  moon,  her  horns  are  erect,  there  will  be 
great  storms  at  sea,  unless,  indeed,  she  has  a  circlet88  around  her, 
and  that  circlet  unblemished ;  for  by  that  sign  we  are  informed 
that  there  will  be  no  stormy  weather  before  full  moon.  If,  at 
the  full  moon,  one  half  of  her  disk  is  clear,  it  is  indicative  of 
fine  weather,  but  if  it  is  red,  of  wind,  and  if  black,  of  rain.  If 
a  darkness  comes  over  the  face  of  the  moon,  covered  with  clouds, 
in  whatever  quarter  it  breaks,  from  that  quarter  wind  may  be 
expected.  If  a  twofold  circle  surrounds  the  moon,  the  storm 
will  be  more  violent,  and  even  more  so  still,  if  there  are  three 
circles,  or  if  they  are  black,  broken,  and  disjointed.  If  the  new 
moon  at  her  rising  has  the  upper  horn  obscured,  there  will  be  a 
prevalence  of  rainy  weather,  when  she  is  on  the  wane;  but. if 
it  is  the  lower  horn  that  is  obscured,  there  will  be  rain  before 
full  moon ;  if,  again,  the  moon  is  darkened  in  the  middle  of  her 
disk,  there  will  be  rain  when  she  is  at  full.  If  the  moon,  when 
full,  has  a  circle  round  her,  it  indicates  wind  from  the  quarter 
in  the  circle  which  is  the  brightest;  but  if  at  her  rising  the 
61  So  Virgil,  Georg.  i.  427.  88  Coronam. 

120  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XVIII. 

horns  are  obtuse,  they  are  portentous  of  a  frightful  tempest. 
If,  when  the  west  wind  prevails,  the  moon  does  not  make  her 
appearance  before  her  fourth  day,  there  will  be  a  prevalence 
of  stormy  weather  throughout  the  month.  If  on  the  sixteenth 
day  the  moon  has  a  bright,  flaming  appearance,  it  is  a  presage 
of  violent  tempests." 

There  are  eight  different  epochs  of  the  moon,  or  periods  at 
which  she  makes  certain  angles  of  incidence  with  the  sun,  and 
most  persons  only  notice  the  prognostics  derived  from  the 
moon,  according  to  the  places  which  they  occupy  between  these 
angles.  The  periods  of  these  angles  are  the  third  day,  the 
seventh,  the  eleventh,  the  fifteenth,  the  nineteenth,  the  twenty- 
third,  the  twenty-seventh,  and  that  of  the  conjunction. 


In  the  third  rank  must  be  placed  the  prognostics  derived 
from  the  stars.  These  bodies  are  sometimes  to  be  seen  shooting 
to  and  fro  ;89  when  this  happens,  winds  immediately  ensue, 
in  that  part  of  the  heavens  in  which  the  presage  has  been 
afforded.  When  the  heavens  are  equally  bright  throughout 
their  whole  expanse,  at  the  periods  previously  mentioned,90  the 
ensuing  autumn  will  be  fine  and  cool.  If  the  spring  and  sum- 
mer have  passed  not  without  some  rain,  the  autumn  will  be 
fine  and  settled,91  and  there  will  be  but  little  wind  :  when  the 
autumn  is  fine,  it  makes  a  windy  winter.  When  the  bright- 
ness of  the  stars  is  suddenly  obscured,  though  without92  clouds 
or  fog,  violent  tempests  may  be  expected.  If  numerous  stars 
are  seen  to  shoot,93  leaving  a  white  track  behind  them,  they 
presage  wind  from  that  quarter.9**  If  they  follow  in  quick  suc- 
cession from  the  same  quarter,  the  wind  will  blow  steadily, 
but  if  from  various  quarters  of  the  heavens,  the  wind  will  shift 
in  sudden  gusts  and  squalls.  If  circles  are  seen  to  surround 
any  of  the  planets,  there  will  be  rain.94  In  the  constellation 

89  See  B.  ii.  c.  6  and  c.  36.  w  In  c.  59  of  this  Book 

91  "  Densum."  Fee  says  that  this  is  in  general  confirmed  by  experience. 

92  This  results,  Fee  says,  from  the  presence  of   thin,  aqueous  vapours, 
which  portend  a  change  in  the  atmosphere. 

93  Fee  attributes  this  phaenomenon  to  hydrosulphuric  gas,  ignited  in  the 
air  by  an  electric  spark.     The  notion  that  these  meteors  are  stars,  was 
prevalent  to  a  very  recent  period. 

93*  To  which  they  proceed. 

9i  This,  Fee  says,  is  confirmed  by  experience. 

Chap.  82.]        PROGNOSTICS  DERIVED  FROM  CLOUDS.  121 

of  Cancer,  there  are  two  small  stars  to  be  seen,  known  as  the 
Aselli,9*  the  small  space  that  lies  between  them  being  occupied 
by  a  cloudy  appearance,  which  is  known  as  the  Manger  j96  when 
this  cloud  is  not  visible  in  a  clear  sky,  it  is  a  presage  of  a 
violent  storm.  If  a  fog  conceals  from  our  view  the  one  of  these 
stars  which  lies  to  the  north-east,  there  will  be  high  winds  from 
the  south  ;  but  if  it  is  the  star  which  lies  to  the  south  that  is  so 
obscured,  then  the  wind  will  be  from  the  north-east.  The 
rainbow,  when  double,  indicates  the  approach 97  of  rain  ;  but 
if  seen  after  rain,  it  gives  promise,  though  by  no  means  a  cer- 
tain one,  of  fine  weather.  Circular  clouds  around  some  of  the 
stars  are  indicative  of  rain. 


When,  in  summer,  there  is  more  thunder  than  lightning, 
wind  may  be  expected  from  that  quarter ;  but  if,  on  the  other 
hand,  there  is  not  so  much  thunder  as  lightning,  there  will  be 
a  fall  of  rain.  When  it  lightens  in  a  clear  sky,  there  will  bo 
rain,  and  if  there  is  thunder  as  well,  stormy  weather  ;  but  if 
it  lightens  from  all  four  quarters  of  the  heavens,  there  will 
be  a  dreadful  tempest.  When  it  lightens  from  the  north-east 
only,  it  portends  rain  on  the  following  day  ;  but  when  from 
the  north,  wind  may  be  expected  from  that  quarter.  When  it 
lightens  on  a  clear  night  from  the  south,  the  west,  or  the 
north-west,  there  will  be  wind  and  rain  from  those  quarters. 
Thunder86  in  the  morning  is  indicative  of  wind,  and  at  midday 
of  rain. 


When  clouds  are  seen  moving  in  a  clear  sky,  wind  may  be 
expected  in  the  quarter  from  which  they  proceed  ;  but  if  they 
accumulate  in  one  spot,  as  they  approach  the  sun  they  will 
disperse.  If  the  clouds  are  dispersed  by  a  north-east  wind,  it 
is  a  presage  of  high  winds,  but  if  by  a  wind  from  the  south,  of 
rain.  If  at  sunset  the  clouds  cover  the  heavens  on  either  side 
of  the  sun,  they  are  indicative  of  tempest;  if  they  are  black 
and  lowering  ill  the  east,  they  threaten  rain  in  the  night,  but 
if  in  the  west,  on  the  following  day.  If  the  clouds  spread  iu 

95  Or  «  Little  Asses."  96  Praesepia. 

97  This,  as  Fee  remarks,  is  consistent  with  experience. 

98  This,  Fee  remarks,  appears  to  be  consistent  with  general  experience. 

122  PLINY'S  NATUJIAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XVIII. 

large  numbers  from  the  east,  like  fleeces  of  wool  in  appearance, 
they  indicate  a  continuance  of  rain  for  the  next  three  days. 
When  the  clouds  settle  on  the  summits  of  the  mountains,"  there 
will  be  stormy  weather;  but  if  the  clouds  clear  away,  it  will 
be  fine.  When  the  clouds  are  white  and  lowering,  a  hail- 
storm, generally  known  as  a  " white"1  tempest,  is  closest 
hand.  An  isolated  cloud,  however  small,2  though  seen  in  a 
clear  sky,  announces  wind  and  storm. 


Mists  descending  from  the  summits  of  mountains,  or  from  the 
heavens,  or  settling  in  the  vallies,3  give  promise  of  fine  weather. 


[Next  to  these  are  the  prognostics  that  are  derived  from  fire 
kindled  upon  the  earth.4  If  the  flames  are  pallid,  and  emit  a 
murmuring  noise,  they  are  considered  to  presage  stormy 
weather ;  and  fungi  upon  the  burning  wick  of  the  lamp  are  a 
sign  of  rain.5  If  the  flame  is  spiral  arid  flickering,  it  is  an  in- 
dication of  wind,  and  the  same  is  the  case  when  the  lamp  goes 
out  of  itself,  or  is  lighted  with  difficulty.  So,  too,  if  the  snuff 
hangs  down,  and  sparks  gather  upon  it,  or  if  the  burning  coals 
adhere 6  to  vessels  taken  from  off  the  fire,  or  if  the  fire,  when 
covered  up,  sends  out  hot  embers  or  emits  sparks,  or  if  the  cin- 
ders gather  into  a  mass  upon  the  hearth,  or  the  coals  burn 
bright  and  glowing. 


There  are  certain  prognostics,  too,  that  may  be  derived  from 

9»  Theophrastus  states  to  a  similar  effect,  and  it  is  confirmed  by  the  ex- 
perience of  those  who  live  in  mountainous  countries. 

1  We  still  hear  of  the  "  white  squalls"  of  the  Mediterranean. 

2  "  *  Behold,  there  ariseth  a  little  cloud  out  of  the  sea,  like  a  man's 

hand.' And  it  came  to  pass  in  the   meanwhile,  that  the  heaven   was 

black  with  clouds  and  wind,  and  there  was  a  great  rain." — 1  Kings,  xviii. 
44,  45. 

3  The  truth  of  this,  Fee  says,  he  has  personally  experienced  in  the 
vallies  of  the  Alps.  4  Terreni  ignys. 

5  This,  and  the  other  phenomena  here  mentioned,  result,  as  Fee  says, 
from  the  hygrometric  state  of  the  air.     Yirgil  mentions  this  appearance  on 
the  wick  of  the  lamp,  Georg.  i.  392. 

6  Fee  thinks  that  this  indicates  fine  weather  rather  than  rain,  as  show- 
ing a  pure  state  of  the  atmosphere. 


water.  If,  when  the  sea  is  calm,  the  water  ripples  in  the  har- 
bour, with  a  hollow,  murmuring  noise,  it  is  a  sign  of  wind, 
and  if  in  winter,  of  rain  as  well.  If  the  coasts  and  shores  re- 
echo  while  the  sea  is  calm,  a  violent  tempest  may  be  expected  ; 
and  the  same  when  the  sea,  though  calm,  is  heard  to  roar,  or 
throws  up  foam  and  bubbling  spray.  If  sea  pulmones7  are 
to  be  seen  floating  on  the  surface,  they  are  portentous  of  stormy 
weather  for  many  days  to  come.  Very  frequently,  too,  the  sea 
is  seen  to  swell  in  silence,  and  more  so  than  when  ruffled  by  an 
ordinary  breeze;  this  is  an  indication  that  the  winds  are  at 
work  within  its  bosoin  already. 


The  reverberations,  too,  of  the  mountains,  and  the  roaring 
of  the  forests,  are  indicative  of  certain  phenomena ;  and  the 
same  is  the  case  when  the  leaves  are  seen  to  quiver,8  without 
a  breath  of  wind,  the  downy  filaments  of  the  poplar  or  thorn 
to  float  in  the  air,  and  feathers  to  skim  along  the  surface  of 
the  water.9  In  champaign  countries,  the  storm  gives  notice  of 
its  approach  by  that  peculiar  muttering 10  which  precedes  it ; 
while  the  murmuring  that  is  heard  in  the  heavens  affords  us  no 
doubtful  presage  of  what  is  to  come. 



The  animals,  too,  afford  us  certain  presages ;  dolphins,  for 
instance,  sporting  in  a  calm  sea,  announce  wind  in  the  quarter 
from  which  they  make  their  appearance.11  When  they  throw 
up  the  water  in  a  billowy  sea,  they  announce  the  approach  of 
a  calm.  The  loligo,12  springing  out  of  the  water,  shell-fish 
adhering  to  various  objects,  sea-urchins  fastening  by  their 
stickles  upon  the  sand,  or  else  burrowing  in  it,  are  so  many  in- 

7  Sea-"  lungs."     See  B.  ix.  c.  71.  8  Ludentia. 

9  Virgil  mentions  these  indications,  Georg.  i.  368-9. 

10  a  Suus  fragor."     The  winds,  Fee  remarks,  however  violent  they  may 
be,  make  no  noise  unless  they  meet  with  an  obstacle  which  arrests  their 
onward  progress. 

11  Theophrastus,  Cicero,  and  Plutarch  state  to  a  similar  effect ;    and  it 
is  corroborated  by  the  experience  of  most  mariners. 

13  The  ink- fish  ;  Sepia  loligo  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  ix.  c.  21. 

124  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Hook  XVIII. 

dications  of  stormy  weather:  the  same,  too,  when  frogs12 croak 
more  than  usual,  or  coots14  make  a  chattering  in  the  morning. 
Divers,  too,  and  ducks,  when  they  clean  their  feathers  with 
the  bill,  announce  high  winds;  which  is  the  case  also  when  the 
aquatic  birds  unite  in  flocks,  cranes  make  for  the  interior,  and 
divers15  and  sea-mews  forsake  the  sea  or  the  creeks.  Cranes 
when  they  fly  aloft  in  silence  announce  fine  weather,  arid  so 
does  the  owlet,16  when  it  screeches  during  a  shower ;  but  it'  it 
is  heard  in  fine  weather,  it  presages  a  storm.  Havens,  too, 
when  they  croak  with  a  sort  of  gurgling  noise  and  shake  their 
feathers,  give  warning  of  the  approach  of  wind,  if  their 
note  is  continuous :  but  if,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  smothered, 
and  only  heard  at  broken  intervals,  we  may  expect  rain,  ac- 
companied with  high  winds.  Jackdaws,  when  they  return 
late  from  feeding,  give  notice  of  stormy  weather,  arid  the  same 
with  the  white  birds,17  when  they  unite  in  flocks,  and  the 
land  birds,  when  they  descend  with  cries  to  the  water  and 
besprinkle  themselves,  the  crow  more  particularly.  The 
swallow,18  too,  when  it  skims  along  the  surface  of  the  water, 
so  near  as  to  ripple  it  every  now  and  then  with  its  wings,  and 
the  birds  that  dwell  in  the  trees,  when  they  hide  themselves 
in  their  nests,  afford  similar  indications ;  geese,  too,  when 
they  set  up  a  continuous  gabbling,19  at  an  unusual  time,  and 
the  heron,20  when  it  stands  moping  in  the  middle  of  the  sands. 


Nor,  indeed,  is  it  surprising  that  the  aquatic  birds,  or  any 
birds,  in  fact,  should  have  a  perception  of  the  impending 

is  Yfrgil  say8  the  same,  Georg.  i.  378. 

14  "  Fulicse."     See  B.  x.  c.  61,  and  B.  xi.  c.  44. 

is  Virgil  says  the  same  of  the  diver,  or  didapper,Georg.  i.  361 ;  and  Lucau, 
Pharsalia,  v.  553.  9 

16  Both  Theophrastus  and  JElian  mention  this. 

17  It  is  not  known  what  bird  is  here  alluded  to,   but  Fee  is  probably 
right  in  suggesting  a  sort  of  sea-mew,  or  gull. 

lb  This  is  still  considered  a  prognostic  of  rain.  Fee  says  that  the  swal- 
low descends  thus  near  to  the  surface  to  catch  the  insects  on  the  wing, 
which  are  aow  disabled  from  rising  by  the  hygrometric  state  of  the  atmo- 

19  This  is  confirmed  by  experience. 

20  On  the  contrary,  Lucan  says  (Pharsalia,  B.  v.  1.  549),  that  on  the  ap- 
proach of  rain,  the  heron  soars  m  the  upper  regions  of  the  air  ;  and  Virgil 
says  the  same,  Georg.  i.  364. 

SUM  M  All  Y.  125 

of  the  atmosphere.     Sheep,  however,  when  they  skip 
aid  irisk  with  their  clumsy  gamhols,21  afford  us  similar  prog- 
s ;  oxen,  when  they  snuff  upwards  towards  the  sky,  and 
themselves  against  the  hair ;  unclean  swine,  when  they 
ear  to  pieces  the  trusses  of  hay  that  are  put  for  other  ani- 
.11  uls  :  .  hen,  contrary  to  their  natural  habits  of  indus- 

try, they  keep  close  within  the  hive;  ants,  when  tlujy  hurry 
to'and  lY<>,  or  are  seen  carrying  forth  their  eggs ;^  and  earth- 
worms,'-'1 emerging  from  their  holes — all  these  indicate  ap- 
proaching changes  in  the  weather. 


It  is  a  well-known  fact,  that  trefoil  hristles  up,  and  its  leaves 

stand  erect,  upon  the  approach  of  a  tempest. 


At  our  repasts,  too,  and  upon  our  tables,  when  we  see  the 

vessels  sweat  in  which  the  viands  are  served,  and  leave  marks 
upon  the  side-board,-5  it  is  an  indication  that  a  dreadful  storm 
is  impending. 

SUMMARY. — Hem  ark  able  facts,  narratives,  and  observations, 

two  thousand  and  sixty. 

ROMVN  A rnions  QUOTED. — Massnrina  Sabinus,26  Cassius  He- 
mina,-7  Veirius  Flaccus,"8"L.  Yi so, M  Cornelius  Celsus,30  Turra- 
nius  (iracilis,:!1  1).  Silanus,32  M.  Varro,83  Cato  the  Censor,34 
Serufa,  '  the  Sasernse,36  father  and  son,  Domitius  Calvinus,37 

21  Tmlroonl  lasciviA. 

u  i .y...  SUoU(  sts  that  tlioy  probably  do  this  to  diminish  the  electric  fluid 

,-ith  whii-h  tin-  air  is  chared. 

'-'•'•  Alinios  sii»i  inaiiipulos. 

'-''  This  is  ronlini'.rd  by  common  experience. 

25  »  K( -nnsitoriis."     8ee  B.  xix.  c.  13,  and  13.  xxx.  c.  49. 

•<-'"  Srr  cud  of  B.  vii.  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

M  Bee«nd  of  15.  iii.  29  See  end  of  B.  u. 

so  Sec  .-ml  of  B.  vii.  ll  See  end  of  B.  in. 

w  Sec  rnd  of  R.  xiv,  "  See  end  of  B.  u. 

r,i  Srr  Hid  of  i;.  iii.  35  See  end  of  B.  xi. 

:*  sir  end  of  B.  x.  87  See  end  ot  B.  xi. 



Hyginus,38  Virgil,39  Trogus,40  Ovid,41  Groecinus,42  Columella,43 
Tubero,44  L.  Tarutius,45  who  wrote  in  Greek  on  the  Stars, 
Cassar46  the  Dictator,  who  wrote  upon  the  Stars,  Sergius 
Paulas,47  Sabinus  Fabian  us,48  M.  Cicero,49  Calpurnius  Bassus,50 
Ateius  Capito,51  Mamilius  Sura,52  Attius,63  who  wrote  the 

FOREIGN  ATJTHOHS  QUOTED. — Hesiod,54  Theophrastus,55  Aris- 
totle,56 Democritus,57  King  Hiero,58  King  Attalus  Philometor,5* 
King  Archelaiis,60  Arcliytas,61  Xenophon,6'  Amphilochus63,  of 

38  See  end  of  B.  iii.  39  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

40  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

41  A  native  of  Sulmo,  in  the  country  of  the  Peligni,  and  one  of  the 
greatest  poets  of  the  Augustan  age.     It  is  most  probable  that  his  "  Fasti" 
was  extensively  consulted  by  Pliny  in  the  compilation  of  the  present  Book. 
Six  Books  of  the  Fasti  have  come  down  to  us,  but  the  remaining  six  have 
perished,  if,  indeed,  they  were  ever  written,  which  has  been  doubted  by 
many  of  the  learned. 

42  See  end  of  B.  xiv.  «  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

44  See  end  of  B.  ii.     It  is  supposed  that  there  were  several  writers  of 
this  name,  but  it  is  impossible  to  say  with  certainty  which  of  them  is  the 
one  here  referred  to.     It  is  probable,  however,  that  it  is  either  L.  ^Elius 
Tubero,   the  friend  of  Cicero,  or  else  Q,  -ZElius  Tubero,  his  son,  that  is 
alluded  to. 

45  L.  Tarutius  Firmianus,    a  mathematician  and  astronomer,    and    a 
friend  and  contemporary  of  Cicero  and  M.  Varro.     At  the  request  of  the 
latter,  he  took  the  horoscope  of  Romulus.     It  is  generally  supposed  that 
he  was  of  Etruscan  descent. 

46  The  founder  of  the  imperial  dignity  at  Rome.     His  Commentaries 
are  the  only  work  written  by  him  that  has  come  down  to  us.     His  trea- 
tise on  the  Stars,  which  Pliny  frequently  quotes  throughout  this  Book, 
was  probably  written  under  the  inspection  of  the  astronomer,  Sosigenes. 

47  See  end  of  B.  ii. 

48  Nothing  is  known  of  tin's  writer.     It  has  been  suggested,  however, 
that  he  may  have  been  the  same  person  as  Papirius  Fabianus,  mentioned 
at  the  end  of  B.  ii. 

49  See  end  of  B.  vii.  50  See  end  of  B.  xvi. 
51  See  end  of  B.  iii.                                 «  See  end  of  B.  x. 

53  L.  Accius,  or  Attius,  an  early  Roman  tragic  poet,  and  the  son  of  a 
freedman,  born  about  B.C.  170.  His  tragedies  were  chiefly  imitations  from 
the  Greek.  He  is  highly  praised  by  Cicero.  The  "Praxidica"  here  men- 
tioned, is  probably  the  same  as  the  "  Pragmatica"  spoken  of  by  Aulus 
Gellius,  B.  xx.  c.  3.  Only  some  fragments  of  his  Tragedies  are  left. 

51  See  end  of  B.  vii.  55  See  end  of  B.  iii. 

56  See  end  of  B.  ii.  57  See  end  of  B.  ii. 

58  See  end  of  B.  viii.  59  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

60  See  end  of  B.  viii.  G1  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

83  See  end  of  B.  iv.  63  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

8TJMMAKT.  1 27 

Athens,  Anaxipolis61  of  Thasos,  Aristophanes65  of  Miletus, 
Apollodorus"  of  Lemnos,  Autigonus67  of  Cymae,  Agathocles68  of 
Chios,  Apollonius69  of  Perganius,  Aristander70  of  Athens,  Bac- 
chius71  of  Miletus,  Bion72  of  Soli,  Choreas73  of  Athens,  Chse- 
ristus74  of  Athens,  Diodorus75  of  Prime,  J)ion76  of  Colophon, 
Epigenes77  of  llhodes,  Euagon78  of  Thasos,  Euphronius79  of 
Atliens,  Androtion80  who  wrote  on  Agriculture,  ./Eschrion81 
who  wrote  on  Agriculture,  Lysima* -lius8-  who  wrote  on  Agri- 
culture, Dionysiusb:{  who  translated  Mago,  Diophanes84  who 
made  an  Epitome  from  Dionysius,  Thales,85  Eudoxus,86  Philip- 
pus,87  Calippus,88  Dositheus,89  Parmeniscus,90  Meton,91  Criton/- 

64  See  end  of  B.  ix.  65  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

56  See  end  of  B.  viii.  67  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

t8  See  end  of  B.  viii.  69  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

70  See  end  of  B.  viii.  71  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

"2  See  end  of  B.  vi.  73  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

74  See  end  of  B.  xiv.  75  See  end  of  B.  xv. 

76  See  end  of  B.  viii.  77  See  end  of  B.  ii. 

7»  See  end  of  B.  x.  79  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

bo  See  end  of  B   viii.  8l  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

s-  See  end  of  B.  viii.  fcj  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

bl  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

v'  Of  Miletus,  the  most  ancient  of  the  Greek  philosophers,  and  the 
founder  of  the  Jonian  school  of  Philosophy.  He  is  said  to  have  written 
upon  the  Solstice  and  the  Equinox,  and  a  work  on  Astronomy,  in  verse, 
was  also  attributed  to  him.  It  is,  however,  more  generally  believed,  that 
he  left  no  written  works  behind  him,  and  that  those  attributed  to  him 
wic  forgeries.  «*  See  end  of  B.  ii. 

87  An  astronomer  of  Medama,  or  Medina,  in  Magna  Graecia,  and  a  dis- 
ciple of  Plato.     lie  is  said  to  have  written  a  treatise  on  the  winds,  and 
Plutarch  states  that  he  demonstrated  the  figure  of  the  moon. 

88  An  astronomer  of  Cyzicus,  and  a  friend  of  Aristotle,  whom  he  assisted 
in  completing  the  discoveries  of  Eudoxus.      He  invented  the  cycle  of 
seventy-six  years,  called  after  him  the  Calippic. 

89  Of  Colonus,  a  geometrician,   to  whom  Archimedes  dedicated  his 
works  on  the  sphere  and  cylinder,  and  on  spirals. 

90  A  grammarian,  who  "is  supposed  to  have  written  a  commentary  on 
Aratus.     Yarro,  De  Ling.  Lat.  x.   10,  speaks  of  him  as  making  the  dis- 
tinctive characteristics  of  words  to  be  eight  in  number. 

91  A  famous  astronomer  of  Athens,  to  whom  the  discovery  of  the  cycle 
of  nineteen  years  has  been  attributed. 

9a  There  were  several  learned  men  of  this  name,  but  it  appears  impos- 
sible to  say  which  of  them  is  the  one  here  alluded  to  ;  probably  it  is  either 
the  Pythagorean  philosopher  of  -iEgae,  who  wrote  on  Predestination,  or 
else  the  historian,  a  native  of  Pieria  in  Macedonia.  There  was  also  an 
astronomer  of  this  name,  a  native  of  Naxos,  and  a  friend  of  Eudoxus  of 


,"    Zenon,"    Euctemon,95    Harpalus,96    Hecatasus* 
der  »  Sosigenes,9'  Hipparchus,'  Aratus,'  Zoroaster,' 


A  famous  astronomer,  a  native  of  Chios.    He  is  sa.d  to  have  claimed 

!ttZy&~*   famous  philosophers  of 


Hecateusof  MUetus,  see  B.  iv.      For  Hecatens  ot  Abderu, 
9^  See  end  ot  B.  iv. 

else  Tarsus,  in  Ci  the  author  of 

two  Greek  astronomical  poems  which  have  come  down  to  us.    He  fl 

r^NoaSBcan2b7e°Saidof  him  with  any  degree  of  historical  certainty 
BythePerstanshewas  called  Zerdusht,  and  wa.  sa,d  to  have  been  the 
Sunder  of  the  Magian  religion.  There  were  several  works  m  6we» 
beariug  his  name,  but  which,  no  doubt,  were  forgeries  of  a  later  age  than 

^SSKSSSSJS  of  this  Book,  as  writinp  letter  to  AnUo- 
chus,  king  of  Syria  ;  but  nothing  further  seems  to  be  known  ot 






WE  have  now  imparted  a  knowledge1  of  the  constellations 
and  of  the  seasons,  in  a  method  unattended  with  difficulty  for 
the  most  ignorant  even,  and  free  from  every  doubt ;  indeed, 
to  those  who  understand  these  matters  aright,  the  face  of  the 
earth  contributes  in  no  less  a  degree  to  a  due  appreciation  of 
the  celestial  phenomena,  than  does  the  science  of  astronomy 
to  our  improvement  in  the  arts  of  agriculture. 

Many  writers  have  made  it  their  next  care  to  treat  of  horti- 
culture ;  but,  for  my  own  part,  it  does  not  appear  to  me  alto- 
gether advisable  to  pass  on  immediately  to  that  subject,  and, 
indeed,  I  am  rather  surprised  to  find  that  some  among  the 
learned,  who  have  either  sought  the  pleasures  of  knowledge  in 
these  pursuits,  or  have  grounded  their  celebrity  upon  them, 
have  omitted  so  many  particulars  in  reference  thereto  ;/for  no 
mention  do  we  find  in  their  writings  of  numerous  vegetable 
productions,  both  wild  as  well  as  cultivated,  many  of  which 
are  found,  in  ordinary  life,  to  be  of  higher  value  and  of  more 
extended  use  to  man  than  the  cereals  even. 

To  commence,  then, 'with  a  production  which  is  of  an  uti- 
lity that  is  universally  recognized,  and  is  employed  not  only 
upon  dry  land  but  upon  the  seas  as  well,  we  will  turn  our  at- 
tention to  flax,2  a  plant  which  is  reproduced  from  seed,  but 
which  can  neither  be  classed  among  the  cereals  nor  yet  among 
the  garden  plants.  What  department  is  there  to  be  found  of 
active  life  in  which  flax  is  not  employed  ?  and  in  what  pro- 
duction of  the  earth  are  there  greater  marvels3  revealed  to  us 

1  More  particularly  in  B.  xvii.  cc.  2  and  3,  and  B.  xviii.  cc.  57 — 75. 

2  The  Linum  usitatissimum  of  Linnaeus. 

3  What  would  he  have  said  to  the  application  of  the  powers  of  steam, 
and  the  electric  telegraph  ? 

TOL.    IV.  K 


than  in  this?  To  think  that  here  is  a  plant  which  brings 
Egypt  in  close  proximity  to  Italy !— BO  much  so  in  J  ict,  that 
Galerius4  and  Balbillus,5  both  of  them  prefects  of  Egypt  made 
ie  passage  to  Alexandria  from  the  Straits  of  Sicily,  the  one 
n  six  days,  the  other  in  five !  It  was  only  this  very  last  sum- 
mer,  that  Valerius  Marianus,  a  senator  of  prffitonan  rank, 
reached  Alexandria  from  Puteoli  in  eight  days,  and  that,  too 
with  a  verv  moderate  breeze  all  the  time !  To  think  that 
here  is  a  plant  which  brings  Gades,  situate  near  the  Pillars  of 
Hercules,  within  six  days  of  Ostia,  Nearer  Spam  within  three, 
the  province  of  Gallia  Narbonensis  within  two,  and  Africa 
within  one  !— this  last  passage  having  been  made  by  C.  *la- 
vius  when  legatus  of  Vibius  Crispus,  the  proconsul,  and  that, 
too  'with  but  little  or  no  wind  to  favour  his  passage ! 

What  audacity  in  man !     What  criminal  perverseness  !  thus 
to  sow  a  thing  in  the  ground  for  the  purpose  of  catching  the 
winds  and  the  tempests,  it  being  not  enough  for  him,  forsooth, 
to  be  borne  upon  the  waves  alone !     Nay,  still  more  than  tl 
sails  even  that  are  bigger  than  the  very  ships  themselves  will 
not  suffice  for  him,  and  although  it  takes  a  whole  tree  to 
make  a  mast  to  carry  the  cross-yards,  above  those  cross-yards 
sails  upon  sails  must  still  be  added,  with  others  swelling  at  the 
prow  and  at  the  stern  as  well-so  many  devices    in  fact    to 
challenge  death!     Only  to   think,  in  fine,  that  that  which 
moves  to  and  fro,  as  it  were,  the  various  countries  of  the  earth, 
should  spring  from  a  seed  so  minute,  and  make  its  appearauc 
in  a  stem  so  fine,  so  little  elevated  above  the  surface  ot  the 
earth  !    And  then,  besides,  it  is  not  in  all  its  native  strength 
that  it  is  employed  for  the  purposes  of  a  tissue  ;  no,  it  n 
first  be  rent  asunder,  and  then  tawed  and  beaten,  t 
reduced  to  the  softness  of  wool;  indeed,  it  is  only  by  such 
violence  done  to  its  nature,  and   prompted  by  the   extreme 
audacity  of  man,  and6     *     *     *     that  it  is  rendered  subser- 
vient to  his  purposes.     The  inventor  of  this  art 

«  Possibly  Galerius  Trachalus,  Consul  A.».  68,  a  relation  of  Galeria 
Fund;ina,  the  wife  of  the  Emperor  Vitellius. 

*  Guvnor  of  E?vpt  in  the  reign  of  Nero,  A.D.  55  He  i.  mentioned 
by  Seneca,  Quaest.  Sat.  B.  iv.  c.  2,  and  is  supposed  to  have  written  a  work 
on  Egypt  and  his  journeys  in  that  country. 

«  Or,  as  Sillig  suggests,  "after  ill  treatment  such  as  this,  that  it  arrives 
at  the  sea."  T!>e  passage  is  evidently  defective. 

Chap.  2.]  HOW  FLAX  IS   SOWN.  131 

already  mentioned  by  us  on  a  more  appropriate  occasion  ;7  not 
satisfied  that  his  fellow-men  should  perish  upon  land,  but 
anxious  that  they  should  meet  their  end  with  no  sepulchral 
rites  to  await  them,  there  are  no  execrations8  to  be  found  that 
can  equal  his  demerits  ! 

It  is  only  in  the  preceding  Book 9  that  I  was  warning  the 
agriculturist,  as  he  values  the  grain  that  is  to  form  our  daily 
sustenance,  to  be  on  his  guard  against  the  storm  and  the  tem- 
pest ;  and  yet,  here  we  have  man  sowing  with  his  own  hand, 
man  racking  his  invention  how  best  to  gather,  an  object  the 
only  aspirations  of  which  upon  the  deep  are  the  winds  of 
heaven  !  And  then,  too,  as  if  to  let  us  understand  all  the  better 
how  highly  favoured  is  this  instrument  of  our  punishment, 
there  is  no  vegetable  production  that  grows  with  greater  fa- 
cility ;10  and,  to  prove  to  us  that  it  is  in  despite  of  Mature  her- 
self that  it  exists,  it  has  the  property  of  scorching11  the  ground 
where  it  is  grown,  and  of  deteriorating  the  quality  of  the  very 
soil  itself. 


Flax  is  mostly  sown  in  sandy12  soils,  and  after  a  single 
ploughing  only.  There  is  no  plant  that  grows  more  rapidly  n 

7  In  B.  vii.  c.  57.     He  alludes  to  Daedalus. 

8  He  probably  has  in  view  here  the  imprecation  uttered  by  Horace  : — 

<k  Illi  robur,  et  ses  triplex 

Circa  pectus  erat,  qui  fragilem  truci 

Commisit  pelago  ratem.t> — Odes,  i.  3. 

At  the  present  day  hemp  forms  a  material  part  in  the  manufacture  of 
sails.  In  addition  to  flax,  the  ancients  employed  broom,  rushes,  leather, 
and  various  skins  of  animals  for  the  purpose. 

9  In  c.  76. 

10  On  the  contrary,  as  Fee  observes,  the  cultivation  of  flax  is  attended 
with  the  greatest  difficulties. 

11  See  B.  xvii.  c.  7.     Virgil  says,  Georg.  i.  77,  "Urit  enim  lini  campum 
seges" — but  in  the  sense,  as  Fee  remarks,  of  exhausting,  not  scorching  the 

12  A  light  soil,  and  well  manured,  is  usually  employed  for  the  purpose. 
Columella,  B.  ii.  c.  10,  recommends  a  rich,  moist  soil.  It  is  sown  in  March 
or  April,  and  is  gathered,  according  to  the  season,  from  June  to  September. 

13  Though  rapid  in  its  growth,  there  are  many  vegetable  productions 
that  grow  more  rapidly. 

K   2 


than  this  ;  sown  in  spring,14  it  is  pulled  up  in  summer,  and  is, 
for  this  reason  as  well,  productive  of  considerable  injury  to  the 
soil15  There  may  be  some,  however,  who  would  iorgive 
E°ypt  for  growing  it,  as  it  is  by  its  aid  that  she  imports  the 
merchandize  of  Arabia  and  India  ;  but  why  should  the  Gallic 
provinces  base  any  of  their  reputation  upon  this  product  : 
it  not  enough,  forsooth,  for  them  to  be  separated  by  mountains 
from  the  sea,  and  to  have,  upon  the  side  on  which  they  aro 
bounded  by  the  Ocean,  that  void  and  empty  space,  as  it  is 
called  ?  17  The  Cadurci,18  the  Caleti,  the  Eutem,19  the  Bitu- 
rio-es,20  and  the  Morini,21  those  remotest  of  all  mankind,  as  it  is 
supposed,  the  whole  of  the  Gallic  provinces,  in  fact,  are  in  the 
habit  of  weaving  sail-cloth;  and  at  the  present  day  our  ene- 
mies even,  who  dwell  beyond  the  Ehenus,  have  learned  to  do  the 
same  ;  indeed,  there  is  no  tissue  that  is  more  beautiful  in  the 
eyes  of  their  females  than  linen.  I  am  here  reminded  of  the 
fact,  that  we  find  it  stated  by  M.  Yarro,  that  it  is  a  custom 
peculiar  to  the  family  of  the  Serrani22  for  the  women  never  to 
wear  garments  of  linen.  In  Germany  it  is  in  caves23  deep  under- 
ground that  the  linen-weavers  ply  their  work  ;  and  the  same 
is  the  case,  too,  in  the  Alian  territory,  in  Italy,  between  the 
rivers  Padus  and  Ticinus,  the  linen  of  which  holds  the  third 
rank  among  the  kinds  manufactured  in  Europe,  that  of  Sseta- 
bis  24  claiming  the  first,  and  those  of  Eetovium25  and  of  JFaven- 

"  This  was  the  time  for  sowing  it  with  the  Romans,  though  in  some 
countries,  at  the  present  day,  it  is  sown  so  late  as  the  autumn 

15  In  B  xviii  c  72,  he  has  spoken  of  this  method  of  gathering  vege- 
table productions  as  injurious  to  the  soil,  by  withdrawing  its  natural 

^i^  Censentur  hoc  reditu  ?"  There  is  little  doubt  that  the  Gauls,  like 
their  German  neighbours,  cultivated  flax  for  the  purposes  of  female  dress, 
and  iiQt  mainly  for  the  manufacture  of  sails. 

«  "  Quod  vocant  inane."  He  implies  that  the  boundless  space  of 
ocean  on  the  Western  coasts  of  Gaul  was  useless  for  any  purposes  of  navi- 

°  See  B.  iv.  c.  33.  19  See  B.  iv.  c.  33. 

20  See  B.  xxxiv.  c.  48.  31  See  B.  iv.  c.  31. 

22  A  family  of  the  Atilia  gens.  .  . 

23  Jt  was,  and  is  still  to  some  extent,  a  prevalent  opinion,  that  the  hu- 
midity of  caves  under-ground  is  favourable  to  the  manufacture  of  tissues 
of  hemp  and  flax. 

24  In  Spain.     See  B.  i.  c.  1,  and  B,  iii.  c.  4.  .    _  .      . 
as  Cluvier  takes  this  place  to  be  the  same  with  Litubium  in  Liguria, 

mentioned  by  Livy,  B.  xxxii. 


tia,  in  the  vicinity  of  Alia,  on  the  ^Emilian  Way,  the  second, 
place  in  general  estimation.  The  linens  of  Faventia  are  pre- 
ferred for  whiteness  to  those  of  Alia,  which  are  always  un- 
bleached :  those  of  Retovium  are  remarkable  for  their  extreme 
fineness,  combined  with  substance,  and  are  quite  equal  in 
whiteness  to  the  linens  of  Faventia ;  but  they  have  none  of 
that  fine  downy  nap  M  upon  them,  which  is  so  highly  esteemed 
by  some  persons,  though  equally  disliked  by  others.  A  thread 
is  made,  too,  from  their  flax,  of  considerable  strength,  smoother 
and  more  even,  almost,  than  the  spider's  web ;  when  tested 
with  the  teeth,  it  emits  a  sharp,  clear  twang ;  hence  it  is,  that 
it  sells  at  double  the  price  of  the  other  kinds. 

But  it  is  the  province  of  Nearer  Spain  that  produces  a  linen 
of  the  greatest  lustre,  an  advantage  which  it  owes  to  the  waters 
of  a  stream  which  washes  the  city  of  Tarraco27  there.  The  fine- 
ness, too,  of  this  linen  is  quite  marvellous,  and  here  it  is  that 
the  first  manufactories  of  cambric28  were  established.  From 
the  same  province,  too,  of  Spain,  the  flax  of  Zoe'la 29  has  of  late 
years  been  introduced  into  Italy,  and  has  been  found  extremely 
serviceable  for  the  manufacture  of  hunting-nets.  Zoe'la  is  a 
city  of  Callsecia,  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Ocean.  The  flax,  too, 
of  Cumae,  in  Campania,  has  its  own  peculiar  merits  in  the 
manufacture  of  nets  for  fishing  and  fowling  ;  it  is  employed, 
also,  for  making  hunting-nets.  For  it  is  from  flax,  in  fact, 
that  we  prepare  various  textures,  destined  to  be  no  less  insi- 
dious to  the  brute  creation  than  they  are  to  ourselves.  It  is 
with  toils  made  from  the  flax  of  Cumse  that  wild  boars  are 
taken,  the  meshes  being  proof  against  their  bristles,30  equally 
with  the  edge  of  the  knife  :  before  now,  too,  we  have  seen  some 
of  these  toils  of  a  fineness  so  remarkable31  as  to  allow  of  being 

36  "  Lanugo."  This  is  not  generally  looked  upon  as  a  merit  in  linen,  at 
the  present  day. 

27  Now  Tarragona.     See  B.  iii.  c.  4. 

28  "  Carbasus."     This  was  probably  the  Spanish  name  originally  for  fine 
flax,  and  hence  came  to  signify  the  cambrics,  or  fine  linen  tissues  made  of 
it.     It  seems,  however,  to  have  afterwards  been  extended  to  all  kinds  of 
linen  tissues,  as  we  find  the  name  given  indifferently  to  linen  garments, 
sail-cloth,  and  awnings  for  the  theatres. 

w  See  B.  iii.  a,  4. 

30  "  Saetas  ceu  per  ferri  aciem  vincunt."     This  passage  is  probably  in  a 
mutilated  state. 

31  There  must  either  be  some  corruption  in  the  text,  or  else  Pliny  must 
have  been  mistaken.     Nets  such  as  these  could  have  been  of  no  possible 
use  in  taking  a  wild  boar. 


passed  through  a  roan's  ring,  running  ropes  and  all,  a  single 
individual  being  able  to  carry  an  amount  of  nets  sufficient  to 
environ  a  whole  forest — a  thing  which  we  know  to  have  been 
done  not  long  ago  by  Julius  Lupus,  who  died  prefect  of  Egypt. 
This,  however,  is  nothing  very  surprising,  but  it  really  is  quite 
wonderful  that  each  of  the  cords  was  composed  of  no  less 
than  one  hundred  and  fifty  threads.  Those,  no  doubt,  will  be 
astonished  at  this,  who  are  not  aware  that  there  is  preserved 
in  the  Temple  of  Minerva,  at  Lindus,  in  the  Isle  of  Ehodes, 
the  cuirass  of  a  former  king  of  Egypt,  Amasis  by  name,  each 
thread  employed  in  the  texture  of  which  is  composed  of  three 
hundred  and  sixty-five  other  threads.  Mucianus,  who  was 
three  times  consul,  informs  us  that  he  saw  this  curiosity  very 
recently,  though  there  was  but  little  then  remaining  of  it,  in. 
consequence  of  the  injury  it  had  experienced  at  the  hands  of 
various  persons  who  had  tried  to  verify  the  fact.  Italy,  too, 
holds  the  flax  of  the  Peligni  in  high  esteem,  though  it  is  only 
employed  by  fullers ;  there  is  no  kind  known  that  is  whiter 
than  this,  or  which  bears  a  closer  resemblance  to  wool.  That 
grown  by  the  Cadurci32  is  held  in  high  estimation  for  making 
mattresses;33  which,  as  well  as  flock,34  are  an  invention  for  which 
we  are  indebted  to  the  Gauls :  the  ancient  usage  of  Italy  is 
still  kept  in  remembrance  in  the  word  "  stramentum,"35  the 
name  given  by  us  to  beds  stuffed  with  straw. 

The  flax  of  Egypt,  though  the  least  strong36  of  all  as  a  tissue, 
is  that  from  which  the  greatest  profits  are  derived.  There  are 
four  varieties  of  it,  the  Tanitic,  the  Pelusiac,  the  Butic,  and 
the  Tentyritic — so  called  from,  the  various  districts  in  which 
they  are  respectively  grown.  The  upper  part  of  Egypt,  in 
the  vicinity  of  Arabia,  produces  a  shrub,  known  by  some  as 
"gossypium,"37  but  by  most  persons  as  "xylon;"  hence  the 

32  See  B.  iv.  c.  33.    Now  Querci,  the  chief  town  of  which  is  Cahors. 

33  "Culcitte."  s*  "Tomenta." 

J5  Exactly  corresponding  to  our  "paillasse,"  a  "bed  of  straw." 

36  This  is  doubtful,  though  at  the  same  time  it  is  a  well-known  fact  that 
the  Egyptian  flax  grows  to  the  greatest  size.     Hasselquist  speaks  of  it 
attaining  a  height  of  fifteen  feet. 

37  Our  cotton,  the  Gossypium  arboreum  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  xii.  c.  21. 
The  terms  xylon,  byssus,  and  gossypium,  must  be  regarded  as  synonymous, 
being  applied  sometimes  to  the  plant,  sometimes  to  the  raw  cotton,   and 
sometimes  to  the  tissues  made  from  it.     Gossypium  was  probably  the  bar- 
barous name  of  ike  cotton  tree,  aud  byssus  perhaps  a  corruption  of  its 
Hebrew  name. 

Chap.  3.]  THE  MODE  OF  PREPAUING  FLAX.  135 

name  of  "  xylina,"  given  to  the  tissues  that  are  manufactured 
from  it.  The  shrub  is  small,  and  bears  a  fruit,  similar  in 
appearance  to  a  nut  with  a  beard,  and  containing  in  the  inside 
a  silky  substance,  the  down  of  which  is  spun  into  threads. 
There  is  no  tissue  known,  that  is  superior  to  those  made  from 
this  thread,  either  for  whiteness,  softness,  or  dressing :  the 
most  esteemed  vestments  worn  by  the  priests  of  Egypt  are 
made  of  it.  There  is  a  fourth  kind  of  tissue,  known  by  the 
name  of  "othoninum,"  which  is  made  from  a  kind  of  marsh- 
reed,38  the  panicule  only  being  employed  for  the  purpose.  In 
Asia,  again,  there  is  a  thread  made  from  broom,39  which  is 
employed  in  the  construction  of  fishing-nets,  being  found  to 
be  remarkably  durable ;  for  the  purpose  of  preparing  it,  the 
shrub  is  steeped  in  water  for  ten  days.  The  ^Ethiopians,  also, 
and  the  people  of  India,  prepare  a  kind  of  thread  from  a  fruit 
which  resembles  our  apple,  and  the  Arabians,  as  already40  men- 
tioned, from  gourds  that  grow  upon  trees. 


In  our  part  of  the  world  the  ripeness  of  flax  is  usually 
ascertained  by  two  signs,  the  swelling  of  the  seed,  and  its 
assuming  a  yellowish  tint.  It  is  then  pulled  up  by  the  roots, 
made  up  into  small  sheaves  that  will  just  fill  the  hand,  and 
hung  to  dry  in  the  sun.  It  is  suspended  with  the  roots 
upwards  the  first  day,  and  then  for  the  five  following  days  the 
heads  of  the  sheaves  are  placed,  reclining  one  against  the  other, 
in  such  a  way  that  the  seed  which  drops  out  may  fall  into  the 
middle.  Linseed  is  employed  for  various  medicinal40*  purposes, 
and  it  is  used  by  the  country-people  of  Italy  beyond  the  Padus 
in  a  certain  kind  of  food,  which  is  remarkable  for  its  sweet- 

38  Probably  the  Arundo  donax  of  modern  botanists.     See  B.  xvi.  c.  66. 

39  Fee  says,  that  the  people  of  Pisa,  at  the  present  day,  soak  the  stalks 
of  broom,  and  extract  therefrom  a  thread,  of  which  cords  and  coarse  stuffs 
are  made. 

40  In  B.  xii.  c.  21.     He  seems  there  to  speak  of  the  cotton-tree,  though 
Fee  suggests  that  he  may  possibly  allude  to  the  "  Bombax  pentandrum"  of 

40*  It  is  the  mucilage  of  the  perisperm  that  is  so  useful  in  medicine. 
As  an  article  of  food,  the  farina  of  linseed  is  held  in  no  esteem  whatever. 
In  times  of  scarcity,  attempts  have  been  made  to  mix  it  with  flour  or  meal, 
but  the  result  has  been  found  to  be  heavy  and  indigestible,  and  has  caused, 
it  is  said,  the  death  even  of  those  who  have  eaten  of  it  in  considerable 


ness  :  for  this  long  time  past,  however,  it  has  only  been  in  gene- 
ral use  for  sacrifices  offered  to  the  divinities.  After  the  wheat 
harvest  is  over,  the  stalks  of  flax  are  plunged  in  water  that 
has  been  warmed  in  the  sun/  and  are  then  submitted  to  pres- 
sure with  a  weight  ;  for  there  is  nothing  known  that  is  more 
light  and  buoyant  than  this.  When  the  outer  coat  is  loosened, 
it  is  a  sign  that  the  stalks  have  been  sufficiently  steeped  ;  after 
which41  they  are  again  turned  with  the  heads  downwards,  and 
left  to  dry  as  before  in  the  sun;  when  thoroughly  dried,  they 
are  beaten  with  a  tow-mallet  on  a  stone. 

The  part  that  lies  nearest  to  the  outer  coat  is  know*n  by  the 
name  of  "  stuppa  ;"  it  is  a  flax  of  inferior  quality,  and  is 
mostly  employed  for  making  the  wicks  of  lamps.  This,  how- 
ever, requires  to  be  combed  out  with  iron  hatchels,  until  the  . 
whole  of  the  outer  skin  is  removed.  The  inner  part  presents 
numerous  varieties  of  flax,  esteemed  respectively  in  propor- 
tion to  their  whiteness  and  their  softness.  Spinning  flax  is 
held  to  be  an  honourable42  employment  for  men  even:  the 
husks,  or  outer  coats,  are  employed  for  heating  furnaces  and 
ovens.  There  is  a  certain  amount  of  skill  required  in  hatchel- 
ling  flax  and  dressing  it  :  it  is  a  fair  proportion  for  fifty  pounds 
in  the  sheaf  to  yield  fifteen  pounds  of  flax  combed  out.  When. 
spun  into  thread,  it  is  rendered  additionally  supple  by  being 
soaked  in  water  and  then  beaten  out  upon  a  stone  ;  and  after 
it  is  woven  into  a  tissue,  it  is  again  beaten  with  heavy  maces  : 
indeed,  the  more  roughly  it  is  treated  the  better  it  is. 


There  has  been  invented  also  a  kind  of  linen  which  is  in- 
combustible by  flame.  It  is  generally  known  as  "  live"43  linen, 
and  I  have  seen,  before  now,  napkins  44  that  were  made  of  it 

41  There  are  various  other  methods  employed  of  dressing  flax  at  the 
present  day  ;  hut  they  are  all  of  them  long  and  tedious. 

42  And  not  feminine  or  servile. 


44  He  evidently  considers  asbestus,  or  amianthus,  to  he  a  vegetable,  and 
not  a  mineral  production.  It  is,  in  reality,  a  mineral,  with  long  flexible 
filaments,  of  a  silky  appearance,  and  is  composed  of  silica,  magnesia,  and 
lime.  The  wicks  of  the  inextinguishable  lamps  of  the  middle  ages,  the 
existence  ofwhich  was  an  article  of  general  belief,  were  said  to  be  made 
of  asbestus.  Paper  and  lace,  even,  have  been  made  of  it  in  modern 

Chap.  4.]  LINEN  MADE  OF  ASBESTOS.  137 

thrown  into  a  blazing  fire,  in  the  room  where  the  guests  were 
at  table,  and  after  the  stains  were  burnt  out,  come  forth  from 
the  flames  whiter  and  cleaner  than  they  could  possibly  have 
been  rendered  by  the  aid  of  water.  It  is  from  this  material 
that  the  corpse-cloths  of  monarchs  are  made,  to  ensure  the 
separation  of  the  ashes  of  the  body  from  those  of  the  pile. 
This  substance  grows45  in  the  deserts  of  India,48  scorched  by 
the  burning  rays  of  the  sun:  here,  where  no  rain  is  ever 
known  to  fall,  and  amid  multitudes  of  deadly  serpents,  it  be- 
comes habituated  to  resist  the  action  of  fire.  Rarely  to  be 
found,  it  presents  considerable  difficulties  in  weaving  it  into  a 
tissue,  in  consequence  of  its  shortness ;  its  colour  is  naturally 
red,  and  it  only  becomes  white  through  the  agency  of  fire. 
By  those  who  find  it,  it  is  sold  at  prices  equal  to  those  given 
for  the  finest  pearls  ;  by  the  Greeks  it  is  called  "  asbestinon,"47 
a  name  which  indicates  its  peculiar  properties.  Anaxilaiis49 
makes  a  statement  to  the  effect  that  if  a  tree  is  surrounded 
with  linen  made  of  this  substance,  the  noise  of  the  blows 
given  by  the  axe  will  be  deadened  thereby,  and  that  the  tree  may 
be  cut  down  without  their  being  heard.  For  these  qualities  it 
is  that  this  linen  occupies  the  very  highest  rank  among  all  the 
kinds  that  are  known. 

The  next  rank  is  accorded  to  the  tissue  known  as  "  byssus,"49 
an  article  which  is  held  in  the  very  highest  estimation  by 
females,  and  is  produced  in  the  vicinity  of  Elis,  in  Achaia.50  I 
find  it  stated  by  some  writers  that  a  scruple  of  this  sold  for- 

45  "Nascitur."     In  the  year  1702  there  was  found  near  the  Nsevian 
Gate,  at  Rome,  a  funereal  urn,  in  which  there  was  a  skull,  calcined  bones, 
and  other  ashes,  enclosed  in  a  cloth  of  asbestus,  of  a  marvellous  length. 
It  is  still  preserved  in  the  Vatican. 

46  On  the  contrary,  it  is  found  in  the  Higher  Alps  in  the  vicinity  of 
the  Glaciers,  in  Scotland,  and  in  Siberia,  even. 

47  Signifying  "  inextinguishable,"  from  d,  "  not,"  and  (r(3&vvv[u,  "  to 
extinguish."     See  B.  xxxvii.  c.  54. 

48  See  end  of  this  Book. 

49  He  evidently  alludes  to  cotton  fabrics  under  this  name.     See  Note  37 
to  c.  2  of  this  Book. 

50  Pausanias,  in  his  Eliaca,  goes  so  far  as  to  say,  that  byssus  was  found 
only  in  Elis,  and  nowhere  else.      Judging  from  the  variable  temperature 
of  the  climate,  it  is  very  doubtful,  Fee  says,  if  cotton  wns  grown  there 
at  all.     Arrian,  Apollonius,  and  Philostratus  say  that  the  tree  which  pro- 
duced the  byssm  had  the  leaves  of  the  willow,  and  the  shape  of  the  pop- 
lar, characteristics  which  certainly  do  not  apply  to  the  cotton-tree.      • 


merly  at  four  denarii,  the  same  rate,  in  fact,  as  gold.  The 
downy  nap  of  linen,  and  more  particularly  that  taken  from 
the  sails  of  sea-going  ships,  is  very  extensively  employed  for 
medicinal  purposes,  and  the  ashes  of  it  have  the  same  virtues 
as  spodium.51  Among  the  poppies,  too,52  there  is  a  variety  which 
imparts  a  remarkable  degree  of  whiteness  to  fabrics  made  of 


Attempts,  too,  have  even  been  made  to  dye  linen,  and  to 
make  it  assume  the  frivolous  colours53  of  our  cloths.  This  was 
first  done  in  the  fleet  of  Alexander  the  Great,  while  sailing 
upon  the  river  Indus ;  for,  upon  one  occasion,  during  a  battle 
that  was  being  fought,  his  generals  and  captains  distinguished 
their  vessels  by  the  various  tints  of  their  sails,  and  astounded 
the  people  on  the  shores  by  giving  their  many  colours  to  the 
breeze,  as  it  impelled  them  on.  It  was  with  sails  of  purple, 
too,  that  Cleopatra  accompanied  M.  Antonius  to  the  battle  of 
Actium,  and  it  was  by  their  aid  that  she  took  to  night :  such 
being  the  distinguishing  mark  of  the  royal  ship. 


In  more  recent54  times  linens  alone  have  been  employed 
for  the  purpose  of  affording  shade  in  our  theatres ;  Q.  Catulus 
having  been  the  first  who  applied  theai  to  this  use,  on 
the  occasion  of  the  dedication  by  him  of  the  Capitol.  At  a 
later  period,  Lentulus  Spinther,  it  is  said,  was  the  first  to 
spread  awnings  of  fine  linen55  over  the  theatre,  at  the  celebra- 
tion of  the  Games  in  honour  of  Apollo.  After  this,  Caesar, 

51  Impure  oxide  of  metals,  collected  from  the  chimneys  of  smel ting-houses. 
Fee  says  that  Pliny  on  this  occasion  is  right. 

52  In  B.  xx.  c.  79,  he  speaks  of  the  "  heraelion"  poppy,  supposed  by 
some  of  the  commentators  to  be  identical  with  the  one  mentioned  here. 

53  "  Vestium  insaniam." 

54  "  Postea."     Sillig  would  reject  this  word,  as  being  a  corruption,  and 
not  consistent  with  fact,   Catulus  having  lived  before  the  time  of  Cleo- 
patra.   He  suggests  that  the  reading  should  he  "  Populo  Romano  ea  in  the- 
atris  spectanti  umhram  fecere."     "  Linen,  too,  has  provided  a  shade  for 
the  Roman  people,  when  viewing  the  spectacles  of  the  theatre."  Lucretius, 
B.  iv.  1.  73,  et  seq.s  speaks  of  these  awnings  as  being  red,  yellow,  and 
iron  grey.  55  "  Carbasina."    Cambric. 

Chap.  7-]  THE   MATURE   OF   SPARTUM.  139 

when  Dictator,  covered  with  a  linen  awning  the  whole  of  the 
Human  Forum,  as  well  as  the  Sacred  Way,  from  his  own  house 
as  far  as  the  ascent  to  the  Capitol,  a  sight,  it  is  said,  more  won- 
derful even  than  the  show  of  gladiators  which  he  then  exhi- 
bited. At  a  still  later  period,  and  upon  the  occasion  of  no 
public  games,  Marcellus,  the  son  of  Octavia,  sister  of  Augus- 
tus, during  his  eedileship,  and  in  the  eleventh  consulship  of  his 
uncle,  on  the  *  *  *  day  before  the  calends  of  August,  covered 
in  the  Forum  with  awnings,  his  object  being  to  consult  the 
health  of  those  assembled  there  for  the  purposes  of  litigation 
— a  vast  change,  indeed,  from  the  manners  prevalent  in  the 
days  of  Cato  the  Censor,  who  expressed  a  wish  that  the 
Forum  was  paved  with  nothing  else  but  sharp  pointed  stones. 

Awnings  have  been  lately  extended,  too,  by  the  aid  of  ropes, 
over  the  amphitheatres  of  the  Emperor  Nero,  dyed  azure,  like 
the  heavens,  and  bespangled  all  over  with  stars.  Those  which 
are  employed  by  us  to  cover  the  inner  court56  of  our  houses 
are  generally  red :  one  reason  for  employing  them  is  to  protect 
the  moss  that  grows  there  from  the  rays57  of  the  sun.  In 
other  respects,  white  fabrics  of  linen  have  always  held  the 
ascendancy  in  public  estimation.  Linen,  too,  was  highly 
valued  as  early  as  the  Trojan  war ;  for  why  else  should  it  not 
have  figured  as  much  in  battles  as  it  did  in  shipwrecks  ?  Thus 
Homer,68  we  find,  bears  witness  that  there  were  but  few  among 
the  warriors  of  those  days  who  fought  with  cuirasses59  on 
made  of  linen ;  while,  as  for  the  rigging  of  the  ships,  of 
which  that  writer  speaks,  it  is  generally  supposed  by  the  more 
learned  among  the  commentators,  that  it  was  made  of  this  ma- 
terial; for  the  word  "  sparta,"60  which  he  employs,  means 
nothing  more  than  the  produce  of  a  seed. 

CHAP.    7.    (2.) — THE   NATURE   OF   SPARTUM. 

For  the  fact  is  that  spartum61  did  not  begin  to  be  employed 

56  The  cavaedium  is  generally  supposed  to  have  been  the  same  as  the 
"  atrium,"  the  large  inner  apartment,  roofed  over,  with  the  exception  of 
an  opening  in  the  middle,  which  was  called  the  "  compluvium,"  or  "  im- 
pluvium,"  over  which  the  awning  here  mentioned  was  stretched.    Here 
the  master  of  the  house  received  his  visitors  and  clients. 

57  White  would  be  much  preferable  to  red  for  this  purpose. 

58  II.  ii.  11.  529  and  830.  59  II.  viii.  1.  63. 

60  II.  ii.  1.  135.     See  B.  xxiv.  c.  40. 

61  The  Stipa  tenacissima  of  Linnreus ;  a  kind  of  broom,  called  "  Esparto" 
by  the  Spaniards. 


till  many  ages  after  the  time  of  Homer  ;  indeed,  not  before  the 
first  war  that  the  Carthaginians  waged  in  Spain.  This,  too, 
is  a  plant  that  grows  spontaneously,62  and  is  incapable  of  being 
reproduced  by  sowing,  it  being  a  species  of  rush,  peculiar  to  a 
dry,  arid  soil,  a  morbid  production  confined  to  a  single  country 
only  ;  for  in  reality  it  is  a  curse  to  the  soil,  as  there  is  nothing 
whatever  that  can  be  sown  or  grown  in  its  vicinity.  There  is 
a  kind  of  spartum  grown  in  Africa,63  of  a  stunted  nature,  and 
quite  useless  for  'all  practical  purposes.  It  is  found  in  one 
portion  of  the  province  of  Carthage64  in  [Nearer  Spain,  though 
not  in  every  part  of  that ;  but  wherever  it  is  produced,  the 
mountains,  even,  are  covered  all  over  with  it. 

This  material  is  employed  by  the  country-people  there  for 
making65  their  beds  ;  with  it  they  kindle  their  fires  also,  and 
prepare  their  torches;  shoes66  also,  and  garments  for  the  shep- 
herds, are  made  of  it.  As  a  food  for  animals,  it  is  highly  in- 
jurious,67 with  the  sole  exception  of  the  tender  tops  of  the 
shoots.  When  wanted  for  other  uses,  it  is  pulled  up  by  the 
roots,  with  considerable  labour ;  the  legs  of  the  persons  so  em- 
ployed being  protected  by  boots,  and  their  hands  with  gloves, 
the  plant  being  twisted  round  levers  of  bone  or  holm-oak,  to 
get  it  up  with  the  greater  facility.  At  the  present  day  it  is 
gathered  in  the  winter,  even ;  but  this  work  is  done  with  the 
least  difficulty  between  the  ides  of  May68  and  those  of  June, 
that  being  the  period  at  which  it  is  perfectly  ripe. 


"When  taken  up  it  is  made  into  sheaves,  and  laid  in  heaps 
for  a  couple  of  days,  while  it  retains  its  life  and  freshness ;  on 
the  third  day  the  sheaves  are  opened  out  and  spread  in  the  sun 

62  Although,  as  Fee  says,  this  is  still  the  fact,  it  is  a  plant  which  would 
readily  admit  of  cultivation.     Varro,  however,  De  Re  Rust.   B.   i.  c.  23, 
speaks  of  it  in  conjunction  with  hemp,  flax,  and  rushes,  as  being  sown. 

63  This  kind,  Fee  thinks,  may  possibly  have  been  identical  with  the 
Spartum  Lygeum  of  Linnaeus,  false  esparto,  or  alvarde. 

64  At  the'present  day  it  is  only  in  the  provinces  on  the  Mediterranean 
that  spartum  is  found  ;  the  other  provinces  producing  nothing  but  alvarde. 

65  It  is  still  used  in  the  southern  parts  of  Spain  for  the  same  purposes, 

66  The  shoes  now  made  of  it  are  known  as  "  espartenas"  and  u  alpar- 

37  It  is  not  dangerous  in  itself,  but  is  too  tough  to  be  a  favourite 
article  of  food  with  cattle. 

<*  Fifteenth  of  May  and  thirteenth  of  June. 

Chap.  10.1  TKE   BULB   EI1IOPHOKUS.  141 

to  dry,  after  which  it  is  again  made  up  into  sheaves,  and  placed 
under  cover.  It  is  then  put  to  soak  in  sea-water,  this  being  the 
best  of  all  for  the  purpose,  though  fresh  water  will  do  in  case 
sea- water  cannot  be  procured  :  this  done,  it  is  again  dried  in 
the  sun,  and  then  moistened  afresh.  If  it  is  wanted  for  im- 
mediate use,  it  is  put  in  a  tub  and  steeped  in  warm  water,  after 
which  it  is  placed  in  an  upright  position  to  dry  :  this  being 
universally  admitted  to  be  the  most  expeditious  method  of  pre- 
paring it.  To  make  it  ready  for  use,  it  requires  to  be  beaten 
out.  Articles  made  of  it  are  proof,  more  particularly,  against 
the  action  of  fresh  or  sea-water ;  but  on  dry  land,  ropes  of  hemp 
are  generally  preferred.  Indeed,  we  find  that  spartum  receives 
nutriment  even  from  being  under  water,  by  way  of  compen- 
sation, as  it  were,  for  the  thirst  it  has  had  to  endure  upon  its 
native  soil. 

By  nature  it  is  peculiarly  well  adapted  for  repairing,  and 
however  old  the  material  may  be,  it  unites  very  well  with  new. 
The  person,  indeed,  who  is  desirous  duly  to  appreciate  this 
marvellous  plant,  has  only  to  consider  the  numerous  uses  to 
which,  in  all  parts  of  the  world,  it  is  applied :  from  it  are 
made,  the  rigging  of  ships,  various  appliances  of  mechanism 
employed  in  building,  and  numerous  other  articles  which  supply 
the  wants  of  daily  life.  To  suffice  for  all  these  requirements, 
we  find  it  growing  solely  on  a  tract  of  ground  which  lies  upon 
the  sea-line  of  the  province  of  New  Carthage,  somewhat  less 
than  thirty  miles  in  breadth  by  one  hundred  in  length.  The 
expense  precludes  its  being  transported  to  any  very  considera- 
ble distance. 


The  Greeks  used  formerly  to  employ  the  rush  for  making 
ropes ;  so,  at  least,  we  are  led  to  believe,  from  the  name69  given 
by  them  to  that  plant ;  and  at  a  later  period  they  made  them, 
it  is  very  clear,  from  the  leaves  of  the  palm,  and  the  inner 
bark  of  the  linden-tree.  It  seems  to  me  very  probable,  too, 
that  it  was  from  them  that  the  Carthaginians  borrowed  the 
first  hint  for  applying  spartum  to  a  similar  purpose. 


Theophrastus70  informs  us,  that  there  is  a  kind  of  bulb,  which 

;9  The  same  word,  <r^otj/oc,  signifying  both  a  "  rush"  and  a  "  rope." 
70  Hist.  Plant.  13.  vii.  c.  13.    Athenaeus,  C.  ii.,  mentions  it  al^o. 


grows  on  the  banks  of  rivers,  and  which  encloses  between  the 
outer  coat  and  the  portion  that  is  eaten  a  sort  of  woolly  sub- 
stance, of  which  felt  socks,  and  other  articles  of  dress,  are  made ; 
but,  in  the  copies,  those  at  least  which  have  fallen  in  my  way, 
there  is  no  mention  made  of  the  country  in  which  it  grows,  or 
of  any  details  in  connection  with  it,  beyond  the  fact  that 
the  name  given  to  it  is  "  eriophoron."71  As  to  spartum, 
he  makes  no72  mention  of  it  whatever,  although  he  has  given 
the  history,  with  the  greatest  exactness,  of  all  the  known 
plants,  three  hundred  and  ninety  years  before  our  time — a  fact 
to  which  I  have  already73  alluded  on  other  occasions  :  from 
this  it  would  appear  that  spartum  has  come  into  use  since  his 

CHAP.     11. — PLANTS     WHICH    SPRING   UP   AND    GROW   WITHOUT   A 



As  we  have  here  made  a  beginning  of  treating  of  the  marvels 
of  Mature,  we  shall  proceed  to  examine  them  in  detail ;  and 
among  them  the  very  greatest  of  all,  Jbeyond  a  doubt,  is  the 
fact  that  any  plant  should  spring  up  and  grow  without  a  root. 
Such,  for  instance,  is  the  vegetable  production  known  as  the 
truffle;74  surrounded  on  every  side  by  earth,  it  is  connected 
with  it  by  no  fibres,  not  so  much  as  a  single:  thread  even,  while 
the  spot  in  which  it  grows,  presents  neither  protuberance  nor 
cleft  to  the  view.  It  is  found,  in  fact,  in  no  way  adhering  to 
the  earth,  but  enclosed  within  an  outer  coat ;  so  much  so,  in- 
deed, that  though  we  cannot  exactly  pronounce  it  to  be  com- 
posed of  earth,  we  must  conclude  that  it  is  nothing  else  but  a 
callous75  concretion  of  the  earth. 

71  Fee  is  at  a  loss  to  identify  this  plant,  but  considers  it  quite  clear 
tliat  it  is  not  the  same  with  the  Eriophorum  augusti folium  of  Linnseus,  a 
cyperaceous  plant,  of  which  the  characteristics  are  totally  different.     Do- 
dona3us,  however,  was  inclined  to  consider  them  identical. 

72  On  the  contrary,  Theophrastus  does  mention  it,  in  the  Hist.  Plant. 
B.  i.  c.  8,  and  speaks  of  it  as  having  a  bark  composed  of  several  tunics  or 

™  In  ]].  xiii.  c.  13,  and  B.  xv.  c.  1. 

74  "  Tuber."     The  Tuber  cibarium  of  Linnaeus,  the  black  truffle  ;  and 
probably  the  grey  truffle,  the  Tuber  griseum. 

75  This  callous  secretion  of  the  earth,  or  corticle,  is,  as  Fee  says,  a  sort 
of  hymenium,  formed  of  vesicles,  which,  as  they  develope  themselves,  are 

Chap.  12.]  MIST,  ITON,  AtfD    OEEANIOS".  143 

Truffles  generally  grow  in  dry,  sandy  soils,  and  spots  that 
are  thickly  covered  with  shrubs ;  in  size  they  are  often  larger 
than  a  quince,  and  are  found  to  weigh  as  much  76  as  a  pound. 
There  are  two  kinds  of  them,  the  one  full  of  sand,  and  con- 
sequently injurious  to  the  teeth,  the  other  free  from  sand  and 
all  impurities.  They  are  distinguished  also  by  their  colour, 
which  is  red  or  black,  and  white  within  ;  those  of  Africa 77 
are  the  most  esteemed.  Whether  the  truffle  grows  gradually, 
or  whether  this  blemish  of  the  earth — for  it  can  be  looked  upon 
as  nothing  else — at  once  assumes  the  globular  form  and  magni- 
tude which  it  presents  when  found ;  whether,  too,  it  is  pos- 
sessed of  vitality  or  not,  are  all  of  them  questions,  which,  in 
my  opinion,  are  not  easy  to  be  solved.  It  decays  and  rots  in 
a  manner  precisely  similar  to  wood. 

It  is  known  to  me  as  a  fact,  that  the  following  circumstance 
happened  to  Lartius  Licinius,  a  person  of  praetorian  rank,  while 
minister  of  justice,78  a  few  years  ago,  at  Carthage  in  Spain ; 
upon  biting  a  truffle,  he  found  a  denarius  inside,  which  all  but 
broke  his  fore  teeth — an  evident  proof  that  the  truffle  is  no- 
thing else  but  an  agglomeration  of  elementary  earth.  At  all 
events,  it  is  quite  certain  that  the  truffle  belongs  to  those 
vegetable  productions  which  spring  up  spontaneously,  and  are 
incapable  of  being  reproduced  from,  seed.79 

CHAP.  12.  (3.) — MIST;  ITON ;  AND  GERANION. 

Of  a  similar  nature,  too,  is  the  vegetable  production  known 
in  the  province  of  Cyrenaica  by  the  name  of  "  misy,"80  re- 
found  to  contain  diminutive  truffles.  Pliny  is  wrong  in  saying  that  the 
truffle  forms  neither  cleft  nor  protuberance,  as  the  exact  contrary  is  the 

'6  Haller  speaks  of  truffles  weighing  as  much  as  fourteen  pounds. 
Valmont  de  Bomare  speaks  of  a  truffle  commonly  found  in  Savoy,  which 
attains  the  weight  of  a  pound. 

17  Those  of  Africa  are  in  general  similar  to  those  found  in  Europe,  hut 
there  is  one  peculiar  to  that  country,  possibly  the  same  that  is  mentioned 
in  the  following  Chapter  under  the  name  of  ''  rnisy." 

13  "  Jura  reddenti." 

7£>  It  is  really  propagated  by  spores,  included  in  sinuous  chambers  in 
the  interior ;  but,  notwithstanding  the  attempts  that  have  been  made,  it 
has  never  yet  been  cultivated  with  any  degree  of  success.  In  c.  13,  Pliny 
seems  to  recognize  the  possibility  of  its  multiplication  by  germs,  where  he 
says  that  its  formation  is  attributed  by  some  to  water. 

b°  Fee  takes  this  to  be  the  Tuber  niveum  of  Dcsfontaines,  the  snow- 
white  truffle.  It  is  globular  and  somewhat  piriform,  grows  to  the  size  of  a 
walnut,  and  sometimes  of  an  orange,  and  is  said  to  be  most  delicate  eating. 


markable  for  the  sweetness  of  its  smell  and  taste,  but  more 
fleshy  than  the  truffle  :  the  same,  too,  as  to  the  iton 81  of  the 
Thracians,  and  the  geranion  of  the  Greeks. 


The  following  peculiarities  we  find  mentioned  with  reference 
to  the  truffle.  When  there  have  been  showers  in  autumn,  and 
frequent  thunder-storms,  truffles  are  produced,  thunder82  con- 
tributing more  particularly  to  their  developement ;  they  do 
not,  however,  last  beyond  a  year,  and  are  considered  the  most 
delicate  eating  when  gathered  in  spring.  In  some  places  the 
formation  of  them  is  attributed  to  water  ;  as  at  Mytilene,83  for 
instance,  where  they  are  never  to  be  found,  it  is  said,  unless 
the  rivers  overflow,  and  bring  down  the  seed  from  Tiara,  that 
being  the  name  of  a  place  at  which  they  are  produced  in  the 
greatest  abundance.  The  finest  truffles  of  Asia  are  those  found 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  Lampsacus  and  Alopeconnesus ;  the 
best  in  Greece  are  those  of  the  vicinity  of  Elis. 

CHAP.    14. THE   PEZICA. 

Belonging  to  the  mushroom  genus,  also,  there  is  a  species, 
known  to  the  Greeks  by  the  name  of  "  pezica/'84  which  grows 
without  either  root  or  stalk. 


Next  to  these,  laserpitium 85  claims  our  notice,  a  very  re- 

81  These  truffles  or  morels  do  not  appear  to  have  been  identified. 

82  Juvenal  alludes  to  this  ahsurd  notion,  Sat.  v.  1.  116.     "  The  long 
wished-for  thunder  will  provide  a  more  ample  repast." 

83  Theophrastus,  as  quoted  by  Athenaeus,  B.  ii.  speaks  of  this. 

84  "Peziza"  was  a  name  given  by  the  ancients  to  a  kind  of  cupuliform 
mushroom ;    in  which,  however,   we  cannot  recognize  the  "  pezica"   of 
Pliny.     Some  writers  think  that  this  was  the  same  as  the  lycoperdon  and 
geastrum  of  botanists,  our  puff-ball :  while  others  take  it  to  be  the  morel, 
the  Morchella  esculenta,  Sprengel  in  the  number.     Fee  is  inclined  to  be 
of  opinion  that  an  edible  mushroom  is  meant,  but  is  quite  at  a  loss  to 
identify  it. 

85  Possibly  the  Ferula  asafcetida  of  Linnaeus ;  or,  according  to  some,  the 
Thapsia  silphium  of  Viviani,  Flor.  Lib.     It  was  a  plant  common,  accord- 
ing to  ancient  writers,  to  Syria,  Armenia,  Media,  and  Libya ;  but  it  was 
the  produce  of  this  last  country,  probably,  that  afforded  the"  juice  or  gum 
resin  here  mentioned  as  "  laser,"  and  so  highly  esteemed  by  the  ancients,  as 
forming  a  component  part  of  their  perfumes.     Fee  is  inclined  to  think 
that  the  Laserpitium  here  spoken  of  was  the  Thapsia  silphium,  and  to 

„    Chap.  15.]      LA8EKPITITJM,   LASEB,    AND   MASPETUM.  145 

markable  plant,  known  to  the  Greeks  by  the  name  of  "sil- 
phion,"  and  originally  a  native  of  the  province  of  Cyrenaica. 
The  juice  of  this  plant  is  called  "  laser,"  and  it  is  greatly  in 
vogue  for  medicinal  as  well  as  other  purposes,  being  sold  at 
the  same  rate  as  silver.  For  these  many  years  past,  however, 
it  has  not  been  found  in  Cyrenaica,86  as  the  farmers  of  the 
revenue  who  hold  the  lands  there  on  lease,  have  a  notion  that 
it  is  more  profitable  to  depasture  flocks  of  sheep  upon  them. 
Within  the  memory  of  the  present  generation,  a  single  stalk87 
is  all  that  has  ever  been  found  there,  and  that  was  sent  as  a 
curiosity  to  the  Emperor  Nero.  If  it  so  happen  that  one  of 
the  flock,  while  grazing,  meets  with  a  growing  shoot88  of  it,  the 
fact  is  easily  ascertained  by  the  following  signs ;  the  sheep,  after 
eating  of  it,  immediately  falls  asleep,  while  the  goat  is  seized 
with  a  fit  of  sneezing.89  For  this  long  time  past,  there  has 
been  no  other  laser  imported  into  this  country,  but  that  pro- 
duced in  either  Persis,  Media,  or  Armenia,  where  it  grows  in 
considerable  abundance,  though  much  inferior90  to  that  of  Cy- 
renaica ;  and  even  then  it  is  extensively  adulterated  with  gum, 
sacopenium,91  or  pounded  beans.  I  ought  the  less  then  to 

reject  the  more  general  opinion  that  it  is  identical  with  the  Ferula  asa- 
fcetida.  Pliny  has  probably  caused  some  confusion  by  blending  the  de- 
scription of  other  writers  with  that  given  by  Theophrastus,  each  having 
in  view  a  different  plant.  Indeed,  whatever  the  Laserpitium  or  Silphium 
of  other  countries  may  have  been,  it  is  not  improbable  that  the  odoriferous 
plant  of  Cyrenaica  was  not  identical  with  the  Ferula  asafcetida  of  Linna3us. 
The  foliage  of  the  Thapsia  silphium  is  exactly  similar  to  that  of  the 
Laserpitium  as  depicted  on  medals  of  Cyrenaica,  still  extant.  We  learn 
from  Littre,  that  Dr.  Guyon  showed,  in  1842,  to  the  Academic  des 
Sciences,  a  plant  which  the  Arabs  of  Algeria  employ  as  a  purgative,  and 
which  they  call  bonnefa.  It  is  the  Thapsia  Garganica  of  Desfontaines, 
and  is  considered  by  Guyon  to  be  identical  with  the  Silphium  of  the 

86  See  B.  xxii.  c.  48.   In  the  "  Rudens"  of  Plautus,  the  scene  of  which  is 
near  Cyrene,  frequent  allusion  is  made  to  the  growth  of  laserpitium  there, 
and  the  preparation  and  export  of  the  resin,  as  forming  the  staple  article 
of  commerce. 

87  Scribonius  Largus,  who  lived  in  the  time  of  Tiberius,  speaks  of  using 
in  a  prescription  laser  of  Cyrenaica,  "if  it  can  be  met  with ;"  usi  poterit 
inveniri."  ^  "  In  spem  nascentis." 

89  Fee  remarks  that  Pliny  has  not  found  this  absurd  story  in  any  of  the 
works  from  which  he  has  compiled  his  account,  but  that  it  is  entirely  his 

90  This  was  probably  the  Ferula  asafoetida  of  Linnaeus. 

91  See  B.  xx.  c.  75. 

VOL.   IV.  L 


omit  the  facts,  that  in  the  consulship 92  of  C.  Valerius  and  M, 
Herennius,  there  was  brought  to  Rome,  from  Cyrenae,  for  the 
public  service,  thirty  pounds'  weight  of  laserpitium,  and  that 
the  Dictator  Caesar,  at  the  beginning  of  the  Civil  War,  took 
from  out  of  the  public  treasury,  besides  gold  and  silver,  no 
less  than  fifteen  hundred  pounds  of  laserpitium. 

"We  find  it  stated  by  the  most  trustworthy  among  the  Greek 
writers,93  that  this  plant  first  made  its  appearance  in  the  vicinity 
of  the  gardens  of  the  Hesperides  and  the  Greater  Syrtis,  im- 
mediately after  the  earth  had  been  soaked  on  a  sudden  by  a 
shower  as  black  as  pitch.  This  took  place  seven  years  before 
the  foundation  of  the  city  of  Cyrense,  and  in  the  year  of  Rome 
143.  The  virtues  of  this  remarkable  fall  of  rain  extended, 
it  is  said,  over  no  less  than  four  thousand  stadia  of  the  African 
territory  ;  and  upon  this  soil  laserpitium  began  universally  to 
grow,  a  plant  that  is  in  general  wild  and  stubborn,  and  which, 
if  attempted  to  be  cultivated,  will  leave  the  spot  where  it  has 
been  sown  quite  desolate  and  barren.  The  roots  of  it  are 
numerous  and  thick,  the  stalk  being  like  that  of  fennel-giant, 
and  of  similar  thickness.  The  leaves  of  this  plant  were  known 
as  "maspetum,"  and  bore  a  considerable  resemblance  to  parsley; 
the  seeds  of  it  were  foliaceous,  and  the  plant  shed  its  leaves 
every  year.  They  used  to  feed  the  cattle  there  upon  it ;  at 
first  it* purged  them,  but  afterwards  they  would  grow  fat,  the 
flesh  being  improved  in  flavour  in  a  most  surprising  degree. 
After  the  fall  of  the  leaf,  the  people  themselves  were  in  the 
habit  of  eating 94  the  stalk,  either  roasted  or  boiled  :  from  the 
drastic  effects  of  this  diet  the  body  was  purged  for  the  first 
forty  days,  all  vicious  humours  being  effectually  removed.95 

The  juices  of  this  plant  were  collected  two  different  ways, 
either  from  the  root  or  from  the  stalk ;  in  consequence  of  which 
these  two  varieties  of  the  juice  were  known  by  the  distinguish- 
ing names  of  "  rhizias  "  and  "  caulias,"96  the  last  being  of  in- 
ferior quality  to  the  other,  and  very  apt  to  turn  putrid.  Upon 

92  A.U.C.  661. 

93  Fee  remarks,  that  if  Pliny  here    alludes    to   Theophrastus,   Hist. 
Plant.  B.  vi.  c.  3,  he  has  mistaken  his  meaning. 

94  This,  as  Fee  says,  could  hardly  apply  to  the  Ferula  asafbetida  of 
Linnaeus,  the  stalk  of  it  being  extremely  acrid,  and  the  juice  fetid  in  the 
highest  degree. 

95  "  Vitia  his  omnibus."    The  reading  here  is  probably  corrupt. 

96  "Root-juice/'  and  "stalk-juice." 

Chap.  16.]  MAGTDATUS.  1-47 

the  root  there  was  a  black  bark,  which  was  extensively  em- 
ployed for  the  purposes  of  adulteration.  The  juice  of  the 
plant  was  received  in  vessels,  and  mixed  there  with  a  layer  of 
bran  ;  after  which,  from  time  to  time  it  was  shaken,  till  it  had 
reached  a  proper  state  of  maturity  ;  indeed,  if  this  precaution 
was  neglected,  it  was  apt  to  turn  putrid.  The  signs  that  it 
had  come  to  maturity  were  its  colour,  its  dryness,  and  the  ab- 
sorption of  all  humidity. 

There  are  some  authors,  however,  who  state  that  the  root  of 
laserpitium  was  more  than  a  cubit  in  length,  and  that  it  pre- 
sented a  tuberosity  above  the  surface  of  the  earth.  An  incision, 
they  say,  was  made  in  this  tuberosity,  from  which  a  juice  would 
flow,  like  milk  in  appearance ;  above  the  tuberosity  grew  a 
stalk,  to  which  they  give  the  name  of  "  magydaris  ;"97  the 
leaves  that  grew  upon  this  stalk  were  of  the  colour  of  gold,  and, 
falling  at  the  rising  of  the  Dog-star,  when  the  south  winds 
begin  to  prevail,  they  acted  as  seed  for  the  purposes  of  repro- 
duction. It  was  from  these  leaves,  too,  they  say,  that  laser- 
pitium 98  was  produced,  the  root  and  the  stalk  attaining  their 
full  growth  in  the  space  of  one  year.  The  same  writers  also 
state,  that  it  was  the  practice  to  turn  up  the  ground  about  the 
plant,  and  that  it  had  no  such  effect  as  purging  the  cattle  that 
were  fed  upon  it ;  though  one  result  of  using  it  as  food  was, 
that  such  cattle  as  were  ailing  were  either  cured  of  their  dis- 
tempers, or  else  died  immediately  upon  eating  of  it,  a  thing, 
however,  that  but  rarely  happened.  The  first  description, 
however,  is  found  to  agree  more  nearly  with  the  silphium 
that  comes  from  Persis. 

CHAP.    16. MAG  YD  ARTS  > 

There  is  another"  variety  of  this  plant,  known  as  "  magy- 
daris/'1 of  a  more  delicate  nature,  less  active  in  its  effects,  and 
destitute  of  juice.  It  grows  in  the  countries  adjacent  to  Syria," 
but  is  not  to  be  found  in  the  regions  of  Cyrenaica.  There 

97  Poinsinet  fancies  that  this  name  means  "  staff  of  the  Magi.'* 

98  Or  "  laser,"  these  names  being  indifferently  applied  to  the  gum-resin. 

99  The  whole  of  this  paragraph  has  been  borrowed  from  Theophrastus, 
Hist.  Plant.  B.  \i.  c.  iii. 

1  Sprengel  takes  this  to  be  the  Lascrpitmrn  ferulaceum  of  Linnaeus, 
but  Fee  thinks  it  is  more  than  doubtful  if  the  identity  can  be  established. 

2  From  Theophrastus.    Dioscorides  says,  on  the  other  hand,  that  it 
grows  in  Libya. 

148  pLimr's  NATURAL  HISTORY.  [Book  XIX. 

grows  also  upon  Mount  Parnassus,2*  in  great  abundance,  a  plant 
to  which  some  persons  give  the  name  of  "  laserpitium:"  by 
means  of  all  these  varieties,  adulterations  are  effected  of  a  pro- 
duction that  is  held  in  the  highest  esteem  for  its  salutary 
qualities  and  its  general  usefulness.  The  chief  proofs  of  its 
genuineness  consist  in  its  colour,  which  ought  to  be  slightly 
red  without,  and  when  broken  quite  white  and  transparent 
within  ;  the  drops  of  it,  too,  should  melt  very  rapidly  on  the 
application  of  spittle.  It  is  extensively  employed  for  medi- 
cinal purposes.3 

CHAP.    17. MADDER. 

There  are  two  other  plants  also,  which  are  but  little  known 
to  any  but  the  herd  of  the  sordid  and  avaricious,  and  this  be- 
cause of  the  large  profits  that  are  derived  from  them.  The 
first  of  these  is  madder,4  the  employment  of  which  is  neces- 
sary in  dyeing  wool  and  leather.  The  madder  of  Italy  is  the 
most  esteemed,  and  that  more  particularly  which  is  grown  in 
the  suburbs  of  the  City ;  nearly  all  our  provinces,  too,  pro- 
duce it  in  great  abundance.5  It  grows  spontaneously,  but  is 
capable  of  reproduction  by  sowing,  much  after  the  same  man- 
ner as  the  fitch.  The  stem,6  however,  is  prickly,  and  articu- 
lated, with  five  leaves  arranged  round  each  joint :  the  seed  is 
red.  Its  medicinal  properties  we  shall  have  occasion  to  men- 
tion in  the  appropriate  place.7 

CHAP.    18. — THE    RADICULA. 

The  plant  known  to  us  by  the  name  of  "  radicula,"8  is  the 

2*  From  Littre  we  learn  that  M.  Fraas  has  suggested  that  the  Magy- 
daris  and  Laserpitium  are  possibly  the  Ferula  Tingitana,  and  the  Ptychotis 
verticillata  of  Decaudolle,  which  last  he  has  found  upon  high  mountains  in 
the  lower  region  of  pines,  on  Mount  Parnassus,  among  others. 

3  See  B.  xxii.  cc.  48,  49.  4  The  Rubia  tinctorum  of  Linnaeus. 

5  Dioscorides  speaks  of  the  madder  of  Eavenna  as  being  the  most 
esteemed.      It  is  much  cultivated  at  the  present  day  in  the  South   of 
France,  Holland,  and  the  Levant.    That  of  Lille  enjoys  a  high  reputation. 

6  It  is  covered  with  bristly  hairs,  or  rather,  fine,  hooked  teeth,     Inhere 
is,  however,  no  resemblance  whatever  between  it  and  ervilia  or  orobus, 
the  fitch. 

7  B.  xxiv.  c.  56. 

8  Or  "  little  root ;"  though,  in  reality,  as  Pliny  says,  it  had  a  large 
root.       Some  writers  have    supposed,  that  by  tin's  name  is   meant  the 
Reseda  luteola  of  Linnaeus,  the  "  dyer's  weed"  of  the  moderns;  but  neither 

Chap.  19.]  THE   PLEASURES   OF   THE    GARDEN.  149 

second  of  these  productions.  It  furnishes  a  juice  that  is  ex- 
tensively  employed  in  washing  wool,  and  it  is  quite  wonderful 
how  greatly  it  contributes  to  the  whiteness  and  softness  of 
wool,  It  may  be  produced  anywhere  by  cultivation,  but  that 
which  grows  spontaneously  in  Asia  and  Syria,9  upon  rugged, 
rocky  sites,  is  more  highly  esteemed.  That,  however,  which 
is  found  beyond  the  Euphrates  has  the  highest  repute  of  all. 
The  stalk  of  it  is  ferulaceous  10  and  thin,  and  is  sought  by  the 
inhabitants  of  those  countries  as  an  article  of  food.  It  is  em- 
ployed also  for  making  unguents,  being  boiled  up  with  the 
other  ingredients,  whatever  they  may  happen  to  be.  In  leaf 
it  strongly  resembles  the  olive.  The  Greeks  have  given  it  the 
name  of  "  struthion."  It  blossoms  in  summer,  and  is  agree- 
able to  the  sight,  but  entirely  destitute  of  smell.  It  is  somewhat 
thorny,  and  has  a  stalk  covered  with  down.  It  has  an  ex- 
tremely diminutive  seed,  and  a  large  root,  which  is  cut  up  and 
employed  for  the  purposes  already  mentioned. 

CHAP.     19.    (4.) THE    PLEASURES    OF    THE    GARDEN. 

Having  made  mention  of  these  productions,  it  now  remains 
for  us  to  return  to  the  cultivation  of  the  garden,11  a  subject 
recommended  by  its  own  intrinsic  merits  to  our  notice  :  for  we 
find  that  in  remote  antiquity,  even,  there  was  nothing  looked 
upon  with  a  greater  degree  of  admiration  than  the  gardens  of 
the  Hesperides,11*  those  of  the  kings  Adonis 12  and  Alci- 

Pliny  nor  any  of  the  Greek  writers  mention  the  Radicula  as  being  used 
for  dyeing.  Some,  again,  identify  it  with  the  Gypsophila  struthium  of 
Linnaeus,  without  sufficient  warranty,  however,  as  Fee  thinks. 

9  The  Gypsophila  struthium  grows  in  Spain,  and  possihly,  Fee  says, 
in  other  countries.  Linnaeus  has  "pretended,"  he  says,  that  the  Spaniards 
still  employ  the  root  and  stalk  of  the  Gypsophila  for  the  same  purposes  as 
the  ancients  did  the  same  parts  of  the  Radicula.  He  himself,  however, 


ferulaceous  plants,  and  the  leaf  is  quite  different  in  appearance  from  that 

of  the  olive. 

11  As  Fee  observes,  hy  the  word  "hortus"    the  Romans  understood 
solely  the  " vegetable"  or  "kitchen-garden;"  the  pleasure  garden  being 
generally  denominated  "horti."  n*  See  B.  v.  c.  1. 

12  A  fabulous  king  of  Phoenicia,  probably,  whose  story  was  afterwards 
transferred,  with  considerable  embellishments,  to  the  Grecian  mythology. 
Adonis  is  supposed  to  have  been  identical  with  the  Thamnmz  of  Scripture, 


nous,13  and  the  Hanging  Gardens,  whether  they  were  the  work  of 
Semiramis,  or  whether  of  Cyrus,  king  of  Assyria,  a  subject  of 
which  we  shall  have  to  speak  in  another  work.14  The  kings  of 
Rome  cultivated  their  gardens  with  their  own  hands ;  indeed, 
it  was  from  his  garden  that  Tarquinius  Superbus 15  sent  to  his 
son  that  cruel  and  sanguinary  message  of  his.  In  our  laws  of 
the  Twelve  Tables,  we  find  the  word  ''villa,"  or  "farm," 
nowhere  mentioned ;  it  is  the  word  "  hortus  "  that  is  always 
used  with  that  signification,  while  the  term  "  heredium  "  we 
find  employed  for  "  garden." 

There  are  certain  religious  impressions,  too,  that  have  been 
attached  to  this  species  of  property,16  and  we  find  that  it  is  in 
the  garden  and  the  Forum  only  that  statues  of  satyrs  are  con- 
secrated, as  a  protection  against  the  evil  effects17  of  spells  and 
sorcery ;  although  in  Plautus,  we  find  the  gardens  spoken 
of  as  being  under  the  tutelage  of  Venus.  At  the  present  day, 
under  the  general  name  of  gardens,18  we  have  pleasure-grounds 
situate  in  the  very  heart  of  the  City,  as  well  as  extensive  fields 
and  villas. 

Epicurus,  that  connoisseur19  in  the  enjoyments  of  a  life  of 
ease,  was  the  first  to  lay  out  a  garden  at  Athens  ;20  up  to  his 
time  it  had  never  been  thought  of,  to  dwell  in  the  country  in 
the  middle  of  the  town.  At  Rome,  on  the  other  hand,  the 
garden21  constituted  of  itself  the  poor  man's  field,  and  it  was 
from  the  garden  that  the  lower  classes  procured  their  daily 
food — an  aliment  how  guiltlessly  obtained  !  Eut  still,  it  is  a 
great  deal  better,  no  doubt,22  to  dive  into  the  abysses  of  the 

mentioned  by  Ezekiel,  viii.  14,  where  he  speaks  of  the  "  women  weep- 
ing for  Thammuz."  Hardouin  considers  him  to  have  been  a  Syrian  deity, 
identical  with  the  Moon. 

13  Celebrated  by  Homer,  Od.  B.  vi.  and  xiii. 

14  "Alio  volumine."     As  no  further  mention  is  made  by  Pliny  of  the 
Hanging  Gardens  of  Babylon,  it  is  most  probable  that  he  contemplated 
giving  a  description  of  them  in  another  work,  an  intention  which  he  did 
not  live  to  realize. 

15  See  further  on  this  subject,  c.  53  of  the  present  Book. 

16  The  reading,  "quam  rem,"  seems  preferable  to  "quam  ob  rem," 
adopted  by  Sillig. 

17  "  Effascinationes."    The  effects  of  the  evil  eye. 

18  "Hortorum."     "Pleasure-gardens." 

19  "  Otii  magister." 

20  For  the  purpose  of  teaching  philosophy  there. 

21  "  Hortus."    The  "  kitchen-garden." 

22  Ironically  said. 

Chap.  19.]  THE  PLEASURES  OF  THE  GARDEN.  151 

deep,  and  to  seek  each  kind  of  oyster  at  the  risk  and  peril  of 
shipwreck,  to  go  searching  for  birds  beyond  the  river  Phasis28 
even,  which,  protected  as  they  are  by  the  terrors  invented  by 
fable,24  are  only  rendered  all  the  more  precious  thereby — to  go 
searching  for  others,  again,  in  Numidia,26  and  the  very  sepul- 
chres of  ^Ethiopia,26  or  else  to  be  battling  with  wild  beasts, 
and  to  get  eaten  one's  self  while  trying  to  take  a  prey  which 
another  person  is  to  eat !  And  yet,  by  Hercules  !  how  little  do 
the  productions  of  the  garden  cost  us  in  comparison  with  these  ! 
How  more  than  suflicient  for  every  wish  and  for  every  want ! — 
were  it  not,  indeed,  that  here,  as  in  every  thing  else,  turn  which 
way  we  will,  we  find  the  same  grounds  for  our  wrath  and  in- 
dignation. We  really  might  be  content  to  allow  of  fruits  being 
grown  of  the  most  exquisite  quality,  remarkable,  some  of 
them  for  their  flavour,  some  for  their  size,  some,  again,  for  the 
monstrosities  of  their  growth,  morsels  all  of  them  forbidden  to 
the  poor  !27  We  might  allow  of  wines  being  kept  till  they  are 
mellowed  with  age,  or  enfeebled  by  being  passed  through28 
cloth  strainers,  of  men,  too,  however  prolonged  their  lives, 
never  drinking  any  but  a  wine  that  is  still  older  than  them- 
selves !  We  might  allow  of  luxury  devising  how  best  to  ex- 
tract the  very  aroma,  as  it  were,  and  marrow 29  only  from  grain  ; 
of  people,  too,  living  upon  nothing  but  the  choicest  productions 
of  the  confectioner,  and  upon  pastes  fashioned  in  fantastic 
shapes  :  of  one  kind  of  bread  being  prepared  for  the  rich,  and 
another  for  the  multitude  ;  of  the  yearly  produce  of  the  field 
being  classified  in  a  descending  scale,  till  it  reaches  the  humble 
means  of  the  very  lowest  classes — but  do  we  not  find  that 
these  refined  distinctions  have  been  extended  to  the  very 
herbs  even,  and  that  riches  have  contrived  to  establish  points 
of  dissimilarity  in  articles  of  food  which  ordinarily  sell  for 
a  single  copper  coin  ?30 

In  this  department  even,  humble  as  it  is,  we  are  still  des- 

23  He  alludes  to  the  pheasant.     See  B.  x.  c.  67. 

24  He  alludes  to  Colchis,  the  country  of  Medea,  the  scene  of  the  ex- 
ploits of  Jason  and  the  Argonauts,  and  the  land  of  prodigies  and  fable. 

25  Se.  B.  x.  cc.  38  and  67.     He  alludes  to   "  meleagrides,"  or  Guinea- 

26  See  B.  x.  c.  37.     He  alludes  to  the  hirds  called  "  Memnonides." 

27  See  B.  xvii.  c.  1.  28  See  B.  xiv.  c.  28. 

29  He  alludes  to  the  finest  and  most  delicate  kinds  of  whe&ten  flour. 
See  B.  xviii.  c.  29.  30  "  Uno  asse." 


tined  to  find  certain  productions  that  are  denied  to  the  com- 
munity at  large,  and  the  very  cabbages  pampered  to  such  an 
enormous  extent  that  the  poor  man's  table  is  not  large  enough 
to  hold  them.  Asparagus,  by  Nature,  was  intended  to  grow 
wild,81  so  that  each  might  gather  it  where  he  pleased — but, 
lo  and  behold !  we  find  it  in  the  highest  state  of  cultivation, 
and  Eavenna  produces  heads  that  weigh  as  much  as  three 
pounds32  even  !  Alas  for  the  monstrous  excess  of  gluttony  ! 
It  would  be  surprising  indeed,  for  the  beasts  of  the  field  to  \>e 
forbidden  the  thistle  for  food,  and  yet  it  is  a  thing  forbidden33 
to  the  lower  classes  of  the  community  !  These  refined  dis- 
tinctions, too,  are  extended  to  the  very  water  even,  and,  thanks 
to  the  mighty  influence  of  money,  there  are  lines  of  demar- 
cation drawn  in  the  very  elements  themselves.  Some  persons 
are  for  drinking  ice,  others  for  quaffing  snow,  and  thus  is  the 
curse  of  the  mountain  steep  turned  into  an  appetizing  sti- 
mulus for  the  palate  !34  Cold  is  carefully  treasured  up  for  the 
summer  heats,  and  man's  invention  is  racked  how  best  to  keep 
snow  freezing  in  months  that  are  not  its  own.  Some  again 
there  are  who  first  boil  the  water,35  and  then  bring  it  to  the 
temperature  of  winter — indeed,  there  is  nothing  that  pleases 
man  in  the  fashion  in  which  Nature  originally  made  it. 

And  is  it  the  fact,  then,  that  any  herb  of  the  garden  is 
reared  only  for  the  rich  man's  table  ?  It  is  so — but  still  let 
no  one  of  the  angered  populace  think  of  a  fresh  secession  to 
Mount 'Sacer  or  Mount  A ven tine ;  for  to  a  certainty,  in  the  long 
run,  all-powerful  money  will  bring  them  back  to  just  the 
same  position  as  they  were  in  when  it  wrought  the  severance. 
For,  by  Hercules  !36  there  was  not  an  impost  levied  at  Borne 

31  As  "  corruda,"  or  "  wild  asparagus."  The  Brassica  capitata  alba  of  C. 
BauMn,or  white  cabbage,  sometimes  attains  a  weight  often  or  twelve  pounds. 

'2  This  is  an  exaggeration,  probably. 

83  He  alludes  to  the  artichoke,  or  Cinara  cardunculus  of  the  botanists, 
which  bears  some  resemblance  to  the  common  thistle. 

34  Martial  and  Aulus  Gellius  speak  of  ice  and  snow  drinks.     The  latter 
must  have  been  very  injurious  to  the  stomach. 

35  See  B.  xxxi.  c.  23. 

36  In  this  corrupt  and  otherwise  unintelligible  pasaage,  we  have  adopted 
the   proposed  emendations  of   Sillig,  who  is  of  opinion    that    it   bears 
reference  to  the  abolition  of  the  market-dues,  or  "portorium,"  by  Augus- 
tus Caesar,  and  the  substitution  of  a  property  tax  of  one  twentieth  of  the 
land,  a  method  of  taxation  which  inflicted  greater  hardships  than  the 
former  one,  as  it  was  assessed  according  to  the  superficies,  not  the  produce 

Chap.  19.]  THE    PLEASTJEES   OF   THE    GABDEK.  153 

more  grievous  than  the  market-dues,  an  impost  that  aroused 
the  indignation  of  the  populace,  who  repeatedly  appealed  with 
loud  clamours  to  all  the  chief  men  of  the  state  to  be  relieved  from 
it.  At  last  they  were  relieved  from  this  heavy  tax  upon  their 
wares ;  and  then  it  was  found  that  there  was  no  tax  more 
lucrative,  more  readily  collected,  or  less  obnoxious  to  the  ca- 
prices of  chance,  than  the  impost  that  was  levied  in  exchange 
for  it,  in  the  shape  of  a  property-tax,  extended  to  the  poorest 
classes :  for  now  the  very  soil  itself  is  their  surety  that  paid 
the  tax  will  be,  their  means  are  patent  to  the  light  of  day,  and 
the  superficial  extent  of  their  possessions,  whatever  the  weather 
may  chance  to  be,  always  remains  the  same. 

Cato,37  we  find,  speaks  in  high  praise  of  garden  cabbages : — 
indeed,  it  was  according  to  their  respective  methods  of  garden 
cultivation  that  the  agriculturists  of  early  times  were  appreci- 
ated, and  it  was  immediately  concluded  that  it  was  a  sign  of  a 
woman  being  a  bad  and  careless  manager  of  her  family,  when 
the  kitchen-garden — for  this  was  looked  upon  as  the  woman's 
department  more  particularly — was  negligently  cultivated  ;  as 
in  such  case  her  only  resource  was,  of  course,  the  shambles  or 
the  herb-market.  But  cabbages  were  not  held  in  such  high 
esteem  in  those  days  as  now :  indeed,  all  dishes  were  held  in 
disrepute  which  required  something  else  to  help  them  down, 
the  great  object  being  to  economize  oil  as  much  as  possible  ; 
and  as  to  the  flesh-market,  so  much  as  a  wish  even  to  taste  its 
wares  was  visited  with  censure  and  reproach.  The  chief  thing 
that  made  them  so  fond  of  the  garden  was  the  fact  that  its 
produce  needs  no  fire  and  ensures  economy  in  fuel,  and  that  it 
offers  resources  which  are  always  ready  and  at  hand.  These 
articles  of  food,  which  from  their  peculiar  nature  we  caljL 
"  vinegar- diets/'38  were  found  to  be  easy  of  digestion,  by  no 
means  apt  to  blunt  and  overload  the  senses,  and  to  create  but  little 
craving  for  bread  as  an  accompaniment.  A  portion  of  them  which 
is  still  used  by  us  for  seasonings,  attests  that  our  forefathers  used 

of  the  land.     His  proposed  emendations  of  the  text  are  as  follows  :  *'  mox 

enim  certe  aequabit  eos  pecunia  quos  pecunia  separaverit.  Itaque ac 

rainore  fortunse  jure,  quam  cuin  hereditate  datur  pensio  ea  pauperum  ;  his 
in  solo  sponsor  est,"  &c. 

37  De  Re  Rust.  cc.  156,  157.     He  speaks  of  it  as  being  eaten  either 
boiled  or  raw,  but  in  the  latter  case  with  vinegar.     F£e  thinks  that  even 
then  it  would  make  a  very  acrid  and  indigestible  diet. 

38  "Acetaria."     Salads. 


only  to  look  at  home  for  their  resources,  and  that  no  Indian 
peppers  were  in  request  with  them,  or  any  of  those  other  condi- 
ments which  we  are  in  the  habit  of  seeking  beyond  the  seas. 
In  former  times  the  lower  classes  of  Rome,  with  their  mimic 
gardens  in  their  windows,  day  after  day  presented  the  reflex 
of  the  country  to  the  eye,  when  as  yet  the  multitudes  of  atro- 
cious burglaries,  almost  innumerable,  had  not  compelled  us  to 
shut  out  all  such  sights  with  bars  to  the  passers  by. 

Let  the  garden,  then,  have  its  due  meed  of  honour,  and  let 
not  things,  because  they  are  common,  enjoy  for  that  the  less 
share  of  our  consideration — and  the  more  so,  as  we  find  that 
from  it  men  of  the  very  highest  rank  have  been  content  to 
borrow  their  surnames  even;  thus  in  the  Valerian  family, 
for  instance,  the  Lactucini  have  not  thought  themselves 
disgraced  by  taking  their  name  from  the  lettuce.  Perhaps, 
too,  our  labours  and  research  may  contribute  some  slight  re- 
commendation to  this  our  subject ;  although,  with  Virgil,39  we 
are  ready  to  admit  how  difficult  it  is,  by  language  however 
elevated,  to  ennoble  a  subject  that  is  so  humble  in  itself. 


There  is  no  doubt  that  the  proper  plan  is,  to  have  the  gar- 
dens adjoining  the  country-house ;  and  they  should  be  watered, 
more  particularly,  by  a  river  running  in  front  of  it,  if  possible ; 
or  else  with  water  drawn  from  a  well  by  the  aid  of  a  wheel 
or  of  pumps,  or  by  swipes.40  The  ground  should  be  opened 
just  as  the  west  winds  are  beginning  to  prevail ;  fourteen 
days  after  which  it  should  be  got  ready  for  autumn,  and  then 
before  the  winter  solstice  it  should  have  another  turning  up. 
It  will  require  eight  men  to  dig  a  jugerum,  manure  being 
mixed  with  the  earth  to  a  depth  of  three  feet :  the  ground, 
too,  should  be  divided  into  plots  or  beds  with  raised  and 
rounded  edges,  each  of  which  should  have  a  path  dug  round  it, 
by  means  of  which  access  may  be  afforded  to  the  gardener  and 
a  channel  formed  for  the  water  needed  for  irrigation. 

39  He  alludes,  no  doubt,  to  the  words  of  Virgil,  in  Gcorg.  iv.  1.  6. 

"In  tenui  labor,  attenuis  non  gloria " 

though  in  that  instance  the  poet  is  speaking  of  bees. 

40  i<  Tollenonum  haustu."    These  would  be  used  in  the  case  of  well- 
water  ;  they  are  still  to  be  seen  occasionally  in  this  country,  and  are  very 
common  on  the  continent.    The  wheel  is  also  used  for  drawing  well-water, 
and  is  frequently  employed  in  Barbary  and  Spain. 

Chap.  22.]       HISTORY  OF  TWENTY  DIFFERENT  PLANTS.  155 


Among  the  garden  plants  there  are  some  that  recommend 
themselves  by  their  bulbs,  others  by  the  head,  others  by  the 
stalk,  others  by  the  leaf,  others  by  both :  some,  again,  are 
valued  for  their  seed,  others  for  the  outer  coat,  others  for  their 
membranous  tissues,  others  for  their  cartilaginous  substance, 
others  for  the  firmness  of  their  flesh,  and  others  for  the  fleshy 
tunics  in  which  they  are  enveloped. 




Of  some  plants  the  fruits41  are  in  the  earth,  of  others  both  in 
the  earth  and  out  of  it,  and  of  others,  again,  out  of  the  earth 
solely.  Some  of  them  increase  as  they  lie  upon  the  ground, 
gourds  and  cucumbers,  for  instance ;  the  same  products  will 
grow  also  in  a  hanging  position,  but  they  are  much  heavier 
even  then  than  any  of  the  fruits  that  grow  upon  trees.  The 
cucumber,  however,  is  composed  of  cartilage  and  a  fleshy  sub- 
stance, while  the  gourd  consists  of  rind  and  cartilage  :  this  last 
is  the  only  vegetable  production  the  outer  coat  of  which  be- 
comes of  a  ligneous  nature,  when  ripe.  Radishes,  turnips, 
and  rape  are  hidden  in  the  earth,  and  so,  too,  are  elecampane,41* 
skirrets,43  and  parsnips,43  though  in  a  different  manner.  There 
are  some  plants,  again,  to  which  we  shall  give  the  name  of 
"  ferulaceous,"  anise  "  and  mallows,  for  instance  ;  indeed,  we 
find  it  stated  by  some  writers  that  in  Arabia45  the  mallow  be- 

41  By  the  word  "fructus"  he  no  doubt  means  the  edible  parts  solely, 
the  leaf,  stalk,  or  root,  as  the  case  may  be. 

41*  Fee  is  surprised  to  find  elecampane  figuring  among  the  garden  vege- 
tables. It  has  a  powerful  odour,  is  hitter,  and  promotes  expectoration. 
Though  not  used  as  a  vegetahle  it  is  still  used  as  a  preserve,  or  sweetmeat, 
mixed  with  sugar.  See  further  on  it  in  c.  29  of  this  Book. 

42  See  c.  28  of  this  Book.  43  See  c.  27  of  this  Book. 

44  Fee  remarks  that  this  juxtaposition  of  anise  and  mallows  betokens 
the  most  complete  ignorance  of  botany  on  the  part  of  our  author  ;  there 
being  few  plants  which  differ  more  essentially.      The  field-mallow,  or 
Malva  silvestris  of  Linnaeus,  or  perhaps  several  varieties  of  it,  are  here 
referred  to.     The  anise  will  be  further  mentioned  in  c.  74  of  this  Book. 

45  Fee  suggests  that  the  plant  here  mentioned  may  have  been  an  annual, 
prohably  the  Lavatorea  arhorea  of  botanists,  or  some  kindred  species.     In 
a  few  months  it  is  known  to  attain  a  height  of  ten  feet  or  more. 


comes  arborescent  at  the  sixth  month,  so  much  so,  in  fact, 
as  to  admit  of  its  being  used  for  walking-sticks.  "We  have 
another  instance,  again,  in  the  mallow- tree  of  Mauretania, 
which  is  found  at  Lixus,  a  city  built  upon  an  sestuary 
there  ;  and  at  which  spot,  it  is  said,  were  formerly  the  gardens 
of  the  Ilesperides,  at  a  distance  of  two  hundred  paces  from  the 
Ocean,  near  the  shrine  of  Hercules,  more  ancient,  tradition  says, 
than  the  temple  at  Gades.  This  mallow-tree46  is  twenty  feet 
in  height,  and  of  such  a  thickness  that  there  is  not  a  person  in 
existence  who  is  able  with  his  arms  to  span  its  girth. 

In  the  class  of  ferulaceous  plants  we  must  include  hemp47 
also.  There  are  some  plants,  again,  to  which  we  must  give 
the  appellation  of  "fleshy;"48 such  as  those  spongy49  productions 
which  are  found  growing  in  damp  meadows.  As  to  the  fungus, 
with  a  hard,  tough  flesh,  we  have  already50  made  mention  of 
it  when  speaking  of  wood  and  trees ;  and  of  truffles,  which 
form  another  variety,  we  have  but  very  recently  given  a  de- 



The  cucumber52  belongs  to  the  cartilaginous  class  of  plants, 
and  grows  above  the  ground.  It  was  a  wonderful  favourite 
with  the  Emperor  Tiberius,  and,  indeed,  he  was  never  without 
it ;  for  he  had  raised  beds  made  in  frames  upon  wheels, 
by  means  of  which  the  cucumbers  were  moved  and  exposed  to 
the  full  heat  of  the  sun ;  while,  in  winter,  they  were  withdrawn, 
and  placed  under  the  protection  of  frames  glazed  with  mirror- 
stone.53  We  find  it  stated,  also,  by  the  ancient  Greek  writers, 

46  In  Fee's  opinion  this  tree  cannot  have  belonged  to  the  family  of  Mal- 
vaceae ;  the  Adansonia  and  some  other  exotics  of  the  family,  with  which 
Pliny  undoubtedly  was  not  acquainted,  being  the  only  ones  that  attain 
these  gigantic  proportions. 

47  There  is  no  resemblance  between  mallows  and  hemp,  any  more  than 
there  is  between  mallows  and  anise. 

48  "Carnosa." 

49  Hardouin  thinks  that  he  alludes  to  the  Conferva,  or  river  sponge, 
again  mentioned  in  B.  xxvii.  c.  45.      Fee,  however,  dissents  from  that 

'    5°  In  B.  xvi.  cc.  11  and  13,  and  in  cc.  12  and  14  of  the  present  Book. 

51  In  c.  11  of  the  present  Book. 

52  The  Cucumis  sativus  of  Linnaeus. 

53  "Lapis  specularis."     See  B.  xxxvi.  c.  45.     Coiumella,  De  Re  Rust. 
B.  xi.  c.  3,  speaks  of  this  mode  of  ripening  cucumber,  and  the  fondnesg 
of  the  Emperor  Tiberius  for  them. 

Chap.  23.]  CUCUMBERS.  157 

that  the  cucumber  ought  to  be  propagated  from  seed  that  has 
been  steeped54  a  couple  of  days  in  milk  and  honey,  this  method 
having  the  effect  of  rendering  them  all  the  sweeter  to  the  taste. 
The  cucumber,  while  growing,  may  be  trained  to  take  any  form 
that  may  be  wished  :  in  Italy  the  cucumbers  are  green55  and 
very  small,  while  those  grown  in  some  of  the  provinces  are 
remarkably  large,  and  of  a  wax  colour  or  black.56  Those  of 
Africa,  which  are  also  remarkably  prolific,  are  held  in  high 
esteem ;  the  same,  too,  with  the  cucumbers  of  Mossia,  which 
are  by  far  the  largest  of  all.  When  the  cucumber  acquires  a 
very  considerable  volume,  it  is  known  to  us  as  the  "pepo."57 
Cucumbers  when  eaten  remain  on  the  stomach  till  the  follow- 
ing day,  and  are  very  difficult58  of  digestion ;  still,  for  all  that, 
in  general  they  are  not  considered  very  unwholesome.  By 
nature  they  have  a  wonderful  hatred  to  oil,  and  no  less  affec- 
tion for  water,  and  this  after  they  have  been  cut  from  the  stem 
even.69  If  water  is  within  a  moderate  distance  of  them,  they 
will  creep  towards  it,  while  from  oil,  on  the  other  hand,  they 
will  shrink  away  :  if  any  obstacle,  too,  should  happen  to  arrest 
their  progress,  or  if  they  are  left  to  hang,  they  will  grow 
curved  and  crooked.  Of  these  facts  we  may  be  satisfactorily 
convinced  in  a  single  night  even,  for  if  a  vessel  filled  with 
water  is  placed  at  four  fingers'  distance  from  a  cucumber,  it 
will  be  found  to  have  descended  to  it  by  the  following  morn- 
ing ;  but  if  the  same  is  done  with  oil,  it  will  have  assumed  the 
curved  form  of  a  hook  by  the  next  day.  If  hung  in  a  tube 
while  in  blossom,  the  cucumber  will  grow  to  a  most  surprising 

54  Theophrastus  and  Columella  say  the  same  of  the  cucumber,  and 
Palladius  of  the  melon,  but  there  is  no  ground,  probably,  for  the  belief.  In 
very  recent  times,  however,  Fee  says,  it  was  the  usage  to  steep  the  seeds  of  the 
melon  in  milk.    This  liquid,  in  common  with  any  other,  would  have  the 
effect  of  softening  the  exterior  integuments,  and  thereby  facilitating  the 
germination,  but  no  more. 

55  Still  known  as  the  "green"  or  "gherkin"  cucumber,  and  much  used, 
when  young,  for  pickling. 

66  Probably  in  the  sense  of  a  very  dark  green,  for  black  cucumbers  are 
a  thing  unheard  of. 

57  He  is  evidently  speaking  of  the  pompion,  or  pumpkin,  the  Cucurbita 
pepo  of  Linnaeus :  quite  distinct  from  the  cucumber. 

68  Cucumbers  are  not  difficult  of  digestion  to  the  extent  that  Pliny 
would  have  us  to  believe. 

59  As  Fee  says,  it  is  a  loss  of  time  to  combat  such  absurd  prejudices  as 


length.60  It  is  only  of  late,  too,  that  a  cucumber  of  entirely 
new  shape  has  been  produced  in  Campania,  it  having  just  the 
form  of  a  quince.61  It  was  quite  by  accident,  I  am  told,  that 
the  first  one  acquired  this  shape  in  growing,  and  it  was  from 
the  seed  of  this  that  all  the  others  have  been  reproduced. 
The  name  given  to  this  variety  is  "  melopepo."  These  last  do 
not  grow  hanging,  but  assume  their  round  shape  as  they  lie 
on  the  ground.  A  thing  that  is  very  remarkable  in  them,  in 
addition  to  their  shape,  colour,  and  smell,  is  the  fact  that, 
when  ripe,  although  they  do  not  hang  from  the  stem,  they 
separate  from  it  at  the  stalk. 

Columella62  has  given  us  a  plan  of  his,  by  which  we  may 
have  cucumbers  the  whole  year  round :  the  largest  bramble- 
bush  that  can  be  procured  is  transplanted  to  a  warm,  sunny 
spot,  and  then  cut  down,  about  the  time  of  the  vernal  equinox, 
to  within  a  couple  of  fingers  of  the  ground ;  a  cucumber-seed 
is  then  inserted  in  the  pith  of  the  bramble,  and  the  roots  are 
well  moulded  up  with  fine  earth  and  manure,  to  withstand  the 
cold.  According  to  the  Greeks,  there  are  three  kinds  of  cu- 
cumbers, the  Laconian,  the  Scytalie,  and  the  Boeotian,63  the 
Laconian  being  the  only  one  among  them  that  is  fond 64  of  the 

There  are  some  persons  who  recommend  steeping  the  seed  of 
the  cucumber  in  the  juice  of  the  herb  known  as  the  "  culix ;"  ** 
the  produce,  they  say,  will  be  sure  to  grow  without  seeds. 

CHAP.  24. — GOURDS. 

Gourds  resemble  the  cucumber  in  nature,  at  least  in  their 
manner  of  growing ;  they  manifest  an  equal  aversion  to  the 
winter,  too,  while  they  require  constant  watering  and  manure. 

60  This  is  conformable  with  modern  experience. 

61  Fee  says  that  this  is  the  melon,  the  Cucumis  melo  of  Linnaeus. 

62  B.  xi.  c.   3.     Columella  professes  to  borrow  it  from  the  people  of 
Mendes  in  Egypt. 

63  Theophrastus  enumerates  these  varieties,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.  4. 

64  Theophrastus  only  says  that  the  Laconian  cucumber  thrives  better 
with  watering  than  the  others. 

65  It  is  impossible  to  identify  this  plant,  as  no  ancient  writer  has  given 
any  description  of  it :  it  has  been  suggested,  however,  that  it  may  have 
been  the  Plantago  Psyllium,  or  else  the  Inula  pulicaria  of  Linnaeus.     Of 
course  there  is  no  truth  in  the  story  here  told  of  the  effects  of  its  juice 
upon  the  cucumber. 

Chap.  24.]  GOURDS.  159 

Both  cucumbers  and  gourds  are  sown  in  holes  a  foot  and 
a  half66  deep,  between  the  vernal  equinox  and  the  summer  sol- 
stice, at  the  time  of  the  Parilia  OT  more  particularly.  Some  per- 
sons, however,  think  it  better  to  sow  gourds  after  the  calends 
of  March,68  and  cucumbers  after  the  nones,69  and  at  the  time  of 
the  Quinquatria.70  The  cucumber  and  the  gourd  climb  up- 
wards in  a  precisely  similar  manner,  their  shoots  creeping  along 
the  rough  surface  of  the  walls,  even  to  the  very  roof,  so  great 
is  their  fondness  for  elevated  spots.  They  have  not  sufficient 
strength,  however,  to  support  themselves  without  the  aid  of 
stays.  Shooting  upwards  with  the  greatest  rapidity,  they  soon 
cover  with  their  light  shade  the  arched  roofs  of  the  houses  and 
the  trellises  on  which  they  are  trained.  From  this  circum- 
stance it  is  that  we  find  the  gourd  classified  into  two  primary 
kinds,  the  roof-gourd,71  and  the  common  gourd,  which  creeps 
upon  the  ground.  In  the  first  kind,  from  a  stalk  of  remark- 
able thinness  is  suspended  a  fruit  of  considerable  weight  and 
volume,  arid  quite  immoveable  by  the  action  of  the  wind.  The 
gourd,  too,  as  well  as  the  cucumber,  admits  of  being  lengthened 
to  any  extent,  by  the  aid  of  osier  tubes  more  particularly.  Just 
after  the  blossom  has  fallen  off,  the  plant  is  introduced  into 
these  tubes,  and  as  it  grows  it  can  be  made  to  assume  any  form 
that  may  be  wished,  that  of  a  serpent  coiled  up  being  the  one 
that  is  mostly  preferred  ;  if  left  at  liberty  to  grow  as  it  hangs, 
it  has  been  known  before  now  to  attain  to  no  less  than 72  nine 
feet  in  length. 

The  cucumber  flowers  gradually,  blossom  succeeding  blos- 
som ;  and  it  adapts  itself  perfectly  well  to  a  dry  soil.     It  is 

66  This  depth  would  probably  have  the  effect  of  retarding,  or  else  utterly 
impeding,  the  growth  of  the  plant. 

67  See  c.  44  of  this  Book.     The  Parilia  was  a  festival  celebrated  on  the 
nineteenth  of  April,  the  anniversary  of  the  foundation  of  Rome. 

68  First  of  March.   *  6»  Seventh  of  March. 

70  See  B.  xviii.  c.  56. 

71  The  "  camerarium,"  and  the  "pleheium."     The  former,  Fee  thinks, 
is  the  Cucurbita  longior  of  Dodonaeus  and  J.  Bauhiii,  the  long  gourd,  and 
other  varieties  probably  of  the  calabash  gourd,  the  Cucurbita  leucantha  of 
Duchesne.     The  latter  is  probably  the  Cucurbita  pepo  and  its  varieties. 
Fee  thinks  that  the  name  "  cucurbita,"  as  employed  by  Pliny,  extends 
not  only  to  the  gourd,  but  the  citrul  or  small  pumpkin  as  well. 

72  As  Fee  says,  he  must  be  speaking  of  the  fruit  here,  and  not  the 
plant,  which  attains  a  far  greater  length  than  nine  feet. 


covered  with  a  white  down,  which  increases  in  quantity  as  the 
plant  gains  in  size. 

The  gourd  admits  of  being  applied  to  more  numerous  uses 
than  the  cucumber  even  :  the  stem  is  used  as  an  article  of 
food73  when  young,  bnt  at  a  later  period  it  changes  its  nature, 
and  its  qualities  become  totally  different :  of  late,  gourds  have 
come  to  be  used  in  baths  for  jugs  and  pitchers,  but  for  this 
long  time  past  they  have  been  employed  as  casks 74  for  keeping 
w'ine.  The  rind  is  tender  while  the  fruit  is  green,  but  still  it 
is  always  scraped  off  when  the  gourd  is  used  for  food.  It  ad- 
mits of  being  eaten  several  ways,  and  forms  a  light  and  whole- 
some aliment,  and  this  although  it  is  one  of  those  fruits  that 
are  difficult  of  digestion  by  the  human  stomach,  and  are  apt  to 
swell  out  those  who  eat  of  them.  The  seeds  which  lie  nearest 
to  the  neck  of  the  gourd  produce  fruit  of  remarkable 75  length, 
and  so  do  those  which  lie  at  the  lower  extremities,  though  not 
at  all  comparable  with  the  others.  Those,  on  the  other  hand, 
which  lie  in  the  middle,  produce  gourds  of  a  round  shape,  and 
those  on  the  sides  fruit  that  are  thick  and  short.  The  seeds 
are  dried  by  being  placed  in  the  shade,  and  when  wanted  for 
sowing,  are  steeped  in  water  first.  The  longer  and  thinner^  the 
gourd  is,  the  more  agreeable  it  is  to  the  palate,  and  hence  it  is 
that  those  which  have  been  left  to  grow  hanging  are  reckoned 
the  most  wholesome :  these,  too,  have  fewer  seeds  than  the 
others,  the  hardness  of  which  is  apt  to  render  the  fruit  less 
agreeable  for  eating. 

Those  which  are  intended  for  keeping  seed,  are  usually  not  cut 
before  the  winter  sets  in ;  they  are  then  dried  in  the  smoke, 
and  are  extensively  employed  for  preserving76  garden  seeds,  and 
for  making  other  articles  for  domestic  use.  There  has  been  a 
method  discovered,  also,  of  preserving  the  gourd  for  table,  and 
the  cucumber  as  well,  till  nearly  the  time  when  the  next  year's 
crop  is  ripe ;  this  is  done  by  putting  them  in  brine.  We  are 
assured,  too,  that  if  put  in  a  hole  dug  in  a  place  well  shaded 

73  The  young  shoots  of  the  gourd,  Fee  says,  would  afford  an  insipid 
food,  with  but  little  nutriment. 

71  The  varieties  thus  employed,  Fee  says,  must  have  been  the  Cucurbita 
lagenaria  of  Linnaeus,  and  the  Cucurbita  latior  of  Dodonaeus. 

75  This  is  not  the  fact.     The  seed  produces  fruit  similar  to  that  from 
which  it  was  taken,  and  no  more. 

76  The  trumpet  gourd,  the  Cucurbita  longior  of  Dodongeus,  is  still  em- 
ployed, Fee  says,  by  gardeners  for  this  purpose. 

Chap.  25.]  BAPE  :    TURNIPS.  1 G 1 

from  the  sun,  -with  a  layer  of  sand  beneath,  and  dry  hay  and 
earth  on  the  top  of  them,  they  may  be  kept  green  for  a  very 
long  time.  We  also  find  wild 77  cucumbers  and  gourds ;  and, 
indeed,  the  same  is  the  case  with  pretty  nearly  all  the  garden 
plants.  These  wild  varieties,  however,  are  only  possessed  of 
certain  medicinal  properties,  and  for  this  reason  we  shall  defer 
any  further  mention  of  them  till  we  come  to  the  Books  appro- 
priated to  that  subject. 

CHAP.  25. RAPE.     TURNIPS. 

The  pther  plants  that  are  of  a  cartilaginous  nature  are  con- 
cealed, all  of  them,  in  the  earth.  In  the  number  of  these  is 
the  rape,  a  subject  upon  which  it  would  almost  appear  that 
we  have  treated78  at  sufficient  length  already,  were  it  not  that 
we  think  it  as  well  to  observe,  that  medical  men  call  those 
which  are  round  "  male,"79  while  those  which  are  larger  and 
more  elongated,  are  known  to  them  as  "  female  "  rape :  these 
last  are  superior  in  sweetness,  and  better  for  keeping,  but  by 
successive  sowings  they  are  changed  into  male  rape.80 

The  same  authors,  too,  have  distinguished  five  different  va- 
rieties of  the  turnip  :81  the  Corinthian,  the  Cleonaean,  the 
Liothasian,  the  Boeotian,  and  the  one  which  they  have  charac- 
terized as  peculiarly  the  "  green "  turnip.  The  Corinthian 
turnip 82  grows  to  a  very  large  size,  and  the  root  is  all  but  out 
of  the  ground ;  indeed,  this  is  the  only  kind  that,  in  growing, 
shoots  upwards,  and  not  as  the  others  do,  downwards  into  the 
ground.  The  Liothasian  is  known  by  some  persons  as  the 
Thracian  turnip  j83  it  is  the  one  that  stands  extreme  cold  the 
best  of  all.  Next  to  it,  the  Boeotian  kind  is  the  sweetest ;  it  is  re- 
markable, also,  for  the  roundness  of  its  shape  and  its  shortness ; 

77  See  B.  xx.  c.  2.  78  In  B.  xviii.  c.  34. 

79  Though  borrowed  from  Thcophrastus  and  the  Greek  school,  this  dis- 
tinction is  absurd  and  unfounded. 

s°  It  is  not  the  fact  that  the  seed  of  the  round  kind,  after  repeated 
sowings,  will  produce  long  roots.  Pliny,  however,  has  probably  miscopied 
Theophrastus,  who  says,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.  4,  that  this  transformation 
takes  place  when  the  seed  is  sown  very  thick.  This  assertion,  however, 
is  no  more  founded  on  truth  than  that  of  Pliny. 

81  Also  from  Theophrastus,  B.  vii.  c.  4  ;  though  that  author  is  speaking 
of  radishes,  puQavidtg,  and  not  turnips. 

*3  Properly  radish,  83  Properly  radish. 

VOL.  IV.  M 


while  the  Cleonaean  turnip,84  on  the  other  hand,  is  of  an  elon- 
gated form.  Those,  in  general,  which  have  a  thin,  smooth  leaf, 
are  the  sweetest ;  while  those,  again,  the  leaf  of  which  is  rough, 
angular,  and  prickly,  have  a  pungent  taste.  There  is  a  kind 
of  wild  turnip,85  also,  the  leaves  of  which  resemble  those  of 
rocket.86  At  Rome,  the  highest  rank  is  given  to  the  turnips 
of  Amiternum,87  and  those  of  Nursia ;  after  them,  those  grown 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  City88  are  held  in  the  next  de- 
gree of  esteem.  The  other  particulars  connected  with  the 
sowing  of  the  turnip  have  been  already  mentioned 89  by  us  when 
speaking  of  the  rape. 


Radishes  are  composed  of  an  outer  coat  and  a  cartilaginous 
substance,  and  in  many  instances  the  rind  is  found  to  be  thicker 
than  the  bark  of  some  trees.  This  plant  is  remarkable  for  its 
pungency,  which  increases  in  proportion  to  the  thickness  of  the 
rind :  in  some  cases,  too,  the  surface  of  it  assumes  a  ligneous 
nature.  Radishes  are  flatulent90  to  a  remarkable  degree,  and 
are  productive  of  eructations ;  hence  it  is  that  they  are  looked 
upon  as  an  aliment  only  fit  for  low-bred  people,91  and  this 
more  particularly  if  cole  worts  are  eaten  directly  after  them. 
If,  on  the  other  hand,  they  are  eaten  with  green  olives,  the 
eructations  produced  are  not  so  frequent,  and  less  offensive. 
In  Egypt  the  radish  is  held  in  very  high  esteem,  on  account 
of  the  abundance  of  oil92  that  is  extracted  from  the  seed.  In- 

84  Radish.  85  Properly  radish. 

86  See  B.  xx.  c.  49.     Fee  queries  whether  this  radish  may  not  be  the 
Raphanus  raphanistrum  of  botanists.     See  B.  xviii.  c.  34. 
&  See  B.  xviii.  c.  35. 

88  "  Nostratibus."     Poinsinet  would  render  this,  "  Those  of  my  native 
country,"  t.  e.  the  parts  beyond  the  Padus.     As  Pliny  resided  at  Rome 
during  the  latter  part  of  his  life,  there  can  be  little  doubt  but  that  he  al- 
ludes to  the  vicinity  of  Rome. 

89  See  B.  xviii.  c.  34. 

90  This  property  extends  to  most  of  the  Cruciferae. 

91  "  Cibus  illiberalis." 

92  The  variety  Oleifera  of  the  Raphanus  sativus  is  still  cultivated  exten- 
sively in  Egypt  and  Nubia  for  the  extraction  of  the  oil.     The  variety 
Oleifera  of  the  Brassica  napus  is  also  greatly  cultivated  in  Egypt.     Fee 
suggests  that  Pliny  may  possibly  confound  these  two  plants  under  the  one 
name  of  "  raphanus."     It  is  worthy  of  remark,  too,  that  the  Colza  oil,  so 
much  used  in  France  and  Belgium  for  burning  in  lamps,  is  expressed  from 
the  seed  of  the  Brassica  oleracea,  a  species  of  cabbage. 

Chap.  26.]  HADISHES.  163 

deed,  the  people  of  that  country  sow  this  plant  in  preference 
to  any  other,  whenever  they  can  get  the  opportunity,  the  profits 
derived  from  it  being  larger  than  those  obtained  from  the  culti- 
vation of  corn,  and  the  imposts  levied  upon  it  considerably  less  : 
there  is  no  grain  known  that  yields  a  larger  quantity  of  oil. 

The  Greeks  have  distinguished  the  radish93  into  three  dif- 
ferent kinds,  according  to  the  characteristic  features  of  the 
leaves,  there  being  the  crisped  leaf,  the  smooth  leaf,  and  the 
wild  radish,  the  leaf  of  which  is  smooth,  but  shorter  than  that 
of  the  others  ;  it  is  round  also,  grows  in  great  abundance,  and 
spreads  like  a  shrub.  The  taste  of  this  last  variety  is  acrid, 
and  it  acts  medicinally  as  a  strong  purgative.  In  the  first  kind, 
again,  there  are  certain  differences,  determined  by  the  seed,  for 
in  some  varieties  the  seed  is  of  an  inferior  quality,  and  in  others 
remarkably  small :  these  defects,  however,  are  only  found  to 
exist  in  the  kind  that  has  the  crisped  leaf. 

Our  own  people,  again,  have  found  other  varieties  of  the 
radish  :  there  is  the  Algidan  w  radish,  long  and  transparent,  so 
called  from  the  place  of  its  growth :  another,  similar  to  the 
rape  in  form,  is  known  as  the  Syrian  radish ;  it  is  pretty 
nearly  the  mildest  and  the  most  tender  of  them  all,  and  is  well 
able  to  bear  the  winter.  The  very  best  of  all,  however,  is  the 
one  that  has  been  brought  from  Syria,  very  recently  it  would 
seem,  as  we  do  not  find  it  mentioned  by  any  of  our  writers : 
it  lasts  the  whole  of  the  winter  through.  In  addition  to  these 
kinds,  there  is  another,  a  wild  variety,  known  by  the  Greeks  as 
"agrion,"95  and  to  the  people  of  Pontus  as  "  armon,"  while 
others,  again,  call  it  "leuce,96  and  our  people  "  armoracia  j"97 
it  has  more  leaves,  however,  than  root. 

In  testing  the  quality  of  the  radish,  it  is  the  stem  more  par- 

93  The  Raphanus  sativus  of  Linnaeus.     This  passage,  however,  down  to 
"  crisped  leaf,"  properly  applies  to  the  cabbage,  and  not  the  radish,  Pliny 
having  copied  the  Greek,  and  taken  the  word  'patyavoQ,  properly  4<  cabbage, 
to  mean  "  radish ;"  which  in  the  later  Greek  writers  it  sometimes  does, 
though  not  in  this  instance. 

94  Mount  Algidus  was  near  Tusculum,   fifteen  miles  from  Rome.    Its 
coldness  contributed  greatly  to  the  goodness  of  its  radishes. 

95  Or  '*  wild."     Fee  suggests  that  this  is  the  Raphanus  rusticanus  of 
Lobellius,  the  Cochlearia  Armoracia  of  Linnaeus,  the  wild  radish,  or  horse- 

96  Or  "  white."     From  the  extreme  whiteness  of  the  roots. 

97  Probably  meaning,  ik  radish  of  Arniorica." 

M  2 


ticularly,  that  is  looked  at ;  in  those  which  are  acrid  to  the 
taste,  for  instance,  it  is  rounder  and  thicker  than  in  the  others, 
and  grooved  with  long  channels,  while  the  leaves  are  more  un- 
sightly to  the  eye,  "being  angular  and  covered  with  prickles. 

The  radish  requires  to  be  sown  in  a  loose,  humid  soil,  has  a 
great  aversion  to  manure,  and  is  content  with  a  dressing  solely 
of  chaff:  so  fond  is  it  of  the  cold,  that  in  Germany  it  is  known 
to  grow  as  large  as  an  infant  in  size.98  For  the  spring  crop, 
it  is  sown  immediately  after  the  ides  of  February  ;"  and  then 
again  about  the  time  of  the  Vulcanalia,1  this  last  crop  being 
looked  upon  as  the  best :  many  persons,  however,  sow  radishes 
in  March,  April,  and  September.  When  the  plant  begins  to 
grow  to  any  size,  it  is  considered  a  good  plan  to  cover  up  the 
leaves  successively,  and  to  earth  up  the  root  as  well ;  for  the 
part  of  it  which  appears  above  ground  is  apt  to  become  hard 
and  pithy.  Aristomachus  recommends  the  leaves  to  be  taken 
off  in  winter,  and  the  roots  to  be  well  moulded  up,  to  prevent 
the  water  from  accumulating  about  them ;  and  he  says,  that 
by  using  these  precautions,  they  will  be  all  the  finer  in  summer. 
Some  authors  have  mentioned  a  plan  of  making  a  hole  with  a 
dibble,  and  covering  it  at  the  bottom  with  a  layer  of  chaff,  six 
fingers  in  depth ;  upon  this  layer  the  seed  is  put,  and  then 
covered  over  with  manure  and  earth  ;  the  result  of  which  is, 
according  to  their  statement,  that  radishes  are  obtained  full  as 
large  as  the  hole  so  made.  It  is  salt,  however,  that  conduces 
more  particularly  to  their  nutriment,  and  hence  it  is  that  they  are 
often  watered  with  brine  ;  in  Egypt,  too,  the  growers  sprinkle 
nitre 2  over  them,  the  roots  being  remarkable  for  their  mildness 
The  salt,  too,  has  the  similar  effect  of  removing  all  their  pun- 
gency, and  when  thus  treated,  they  become  very  similar  in 
their  qualities  to  radishes  that  have  been  boiled :  for  when 
boiled  they  become  sweet  and  mild,  and  eat,  in  fact,  just  like 

98  Fee  suggests  that  he  is  here  speaking  of  the  beet-root,  in  reality  a 
native  of  the  north  of  Europe. 

99  Thirteenth  of  February. 

1  The  festival  of  Vulcan,  beginning  on  the  twenty-third  of  August,  and 
lasting  eight  days. 

2  A  natural  production,  the  carbonate  of  sodium  of  the  chemists,  known 
from  time  immemorial  by  the  name  of  "natron."     See  B.   xxx.   c.   46; 
from  which  passage  it  would  appear  that  it  was  generally  employed  for 
watering  the  leguminous  plants. 

Chap.  27.]  PABSNIPS.  165 

Medical  men  recommend  raw  radishes  to  be  eaten  fasting, 
with  salt,  for  the  purpose 3  of  collecting  the  crude  humours  of 
the  viscera  ;  and  in  this  way  they  prepare  them  for  the  action 
of  emetics.  It  is  said,  too,  that  the  juices  of  this  plant  are 
absolutely  necessary  for  the  cure  of  certain  diseases  of  the 
diaphragm ;  for  it  has  been  found  by  experiment,  in  Egypt, 
that  the  phthiriasis 4  which  attaches  itself  to  the  internal  parts 
of  the  heart,  cannot  possibl}T  be  eradicated  by  any  other  remedy, 
the  kings  of  that  country  having  ordered  the  bodies  of  the 
dead  to  be  opened  and  examined,  for  the  purpose  of  enquiring 
into  certain  diseases. 

Such,  too,  is  the  frivolity  of  the  Greeks,  that,  in  the  temple 
of  Apollo  at  Delphi,  it  is  said,  the  radish  is  so  greatly  pre- 
ferred to  all  other  articles  of  diet,  as  to  be  represented  there  in 
gold,  the  beet  in  silver,  and  the  rape  in  lead. — You  might  be 
very  sure  that  Manius  Curius  was  not  a  native  of  that  country, 
the  general  whom,  as  we  find  stated  in  our  Annals,  the  am- 
bassadors of  the  Samnites  found  busy  roasting  rape  at  the  fire, 
when  they  came  to  offer  him  the  gold  which  he  so  indignantly 
refused.  Moschion,  too,  a  Greek  author,  has  written  a  volume 
on  the  subject  of  the  radish.  These  vegetables  are  considered 
a  very  useful  article  of  food  during  the  winter,  but  they  are  at 
all  times  very  injurious  to  the  teeth,  as  they  are  apt  to  wear 
them  away ;  at  all  events,  they  give  a  polish  to  ivory.  There 
is  a  great  antipathy  between  the  radish 6  and  the  vine  ;  which 
last  will  shrink  from  the  radish,  if  sown  in  its  vicinity. 

CHAP.    27. — PARSNIPS. 

The  other  kinds  which  have  been  classified  by  us  among  the 
cartilaginous  plants,  are  of  a  more  ligneous  nature  ;  and  it  is 
a  singular  thing,  that  they  have,  all  of  them,  a  strong  flavour. 
Among  these,  there  is  one  kind  of  wild  parsnip  which  grows 

8  Dioscorides  recommends  these  puerilities  with  the  cabbage,  and  not 
the  radish  ;  though  Celsus  gives  similar  instructions  with  reference  to  the 

4  It  was  a  general  belief  with  the  ancients  that  the  phthiriasis,  or  mor- 
bus  pediculosus,  has  its  seat  in  the  heart.     It  was  supposed  aJso  that  the 
juice  of  the  radish  was  able,  by  reason  of  its  supposed  subtlety,  to  penetrate 
the  coats  of  that  organ. 

5  This  is  said  by  other  ancient  authors,  in  reference  to  the  cabbage  and 
the  vine.     See  B.  xxiv.  c.  i. 


spontaneously ;  by  the  Greeks  it  is  known  as  "  staphy linos/'6 
Another  kind7  of  parsnip  is  grown  either  from  the  root  trans- 
planted, or  else  from  seed,  at  the  beginning  of  spring  or  in  the 
autumn ;  Hyginus  says  that  this  may  be  done  in  February, 
August,  September,  and  October,  the  ground  being  dug  to  a 
very  considerable  depth  for  the  purpose.  The  parsnip  begins 
to  be  fit  for  eating  at  the  end  of  a  year,  but  it  is  still  better  at 
the  end  of  two :  it  is  reckoned  more  agreeable  eating  in  autumn, 
and  more  particularly  if  cooked  in  the  saacepan  ;  even  then, 
however,  it  preserves  its  strong  pungent  flavour,  which  it  is 
found  quite  impossible  to  get  rid  of. 

The  hibiscum8  differs  from  the  parsnip  in  being  more  slender  : 
it  is  rejected  as  a  food,  but  is  found  useful  for  its  medicinal 
properties.  There  is  a  fourth  kind,9  also,  which  bears  a  similar 
degree  of  resemblance  to  the  parsnip;  by  our  people  it  is 
called  the  "  gallica,"  while  the  Greeks,  who  have  distinguished 
four  varieties  of  it,  give  it  the  name  of  "  daucus."  We  shall 
have  further  occasion10  to  mention  it  among  the  medicinal 


The  skirret,11  too,  has  had  its  reputation  established  by  the 
Emperor  Tiberius,  who  demanded  a  supply  of  it  every  year 
from  Germany.  It  is  at  Gelduba,12  a  fortress  situate  on  the 
banks  of  the  Ehenus,  that  the  finest  are  grown ;  from  which 
it  would  appear  that  they  thrive  best  in  a  cold  climate. 
There  is  a  string  running  through  the  whole  length  of  the 
skirret,  and  which  is  drawn  out  after  it  is  boiled  ;  but  still, 
for  all  this,  a  considerable  proportion  of  its  natural  pungency 

6  There  is  some  doubt  as  to  the  identity  of  this  plant,  but  Fee,  after 
examining  the  question,  comes  to  the  conclusion  that  it  is  the  Daucus 
Carota,  or  else  Mauritanicus  of  Linnaeus,  the  common  carrot,  or  that  of 
Mauritania.   Sprengel  takes  it  to  be  either  this  last  or  the  Daucus  guttatus, 
a  plant  commonly  found  in  Greece. 

7  The  Pastinaca  satira  of  Linnaeus,  or  common  parsnip. 

The  marsh -mallow,  probably,  the  Althaea  officinalis  of  Linnaeus. 

9  The  carrot.     The  Daucus  Carota  of  Linnaeus. 

10  In  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

11  "  Siser."     The  Sium  sisarum  of  Linnaeus.     See  also  B.  xx.  c.   17. 
It  is  said  to  have  been  originally  a  native  of  China. 

12  It  is  supposed  that  this  is  the  same  with  Gelb,  near  Neuss,  in  Ger- 
many, mentioned  hy  Tacitus,  Hist.  B.  iv.  cc.  26. 32. 

Chap.  29.]  ELECAMPANE.  167 

is  retained  ;  indeed,  when  modified  by  the  addition  of  honied 
wine,  this  is  even  thought  to  impart  to  dishes  an  additional 
relish.  The  larger  parsnip  has  also  a  similar  sting  inside,  but 
only  when  it  is  a  year  old.  The  proper  time  for  sowing  the 
skirret  is  in  the  months  of  February,  March,  April,  August, 
September,  and  October. 


Elecampane  13  is  not  so  elongated  as  the  preceding  roots,  but 
more  substantial  and  more  pungent ;  eaten  by  itself  it  is  very 
injurious  to  the  stomach,  but  when  mixed  with  other  condi- 
ments of  a  sweet  nature,  it  is  extremely  wholesome.  There 
are  several  methods  employed  for  modifying14  its  natural 
acridity  and  rendering  it  agreeable  to  the  palate  :  thus,  for  in- 
stance, when  dried  it  is  reduced  to  a  fine  flour,  and  then  mixed 
with  some  sweet  liquid  or  other,  or  else  it  is  boiled  in  vinegar 
and  water,  or  kept  in  soak  in  it ;  it  is  also  steeped  in  various 
other  ways,  and  then  mixed  with  boiled 15  grape-juice,  or  else 
incorporated  with  honey  or  raisins,  or  dates  with  plenty  of 
meat  on  them.  Other  persons,  again,  have  a  method  of  pre- 
paring it  with  quinces,  or  else  sorbs  or  plums,  while  sometimes 
the  flavour  is  varied  by  the  addition  of  pepper  or  thyme. 

This  plant  is  particularly  good  for  weakness  of  the  stomach, 
and  it  has  acquired  a  high  reputation  from  the  circumstance 
that  Julia 17  Augusta  used  to  eat  it  daily.  The  seed  of  it  is 
quite  useless,  as  the  plant  is  reproduced,  like  the  reed,  from 
eyes  extracted  from  the  root.  This  vegetable,  as  well  as  the 
skirret  and  the  parsnip,  is  sown  both  in  spring  and  autumn,  a 
considerable  distance  being  left  between  the  plants  ;  indeed,  for 
elecampane,  a  space  of  no  less  than  three  feet  is  required,  as 

13  The  Inula  Helenium  of  Linnaeus.     Its  English  name  is  derived  from 
Inula  campana,  that  under  which  it  is  so  highly  recommended  in  the  pre- 
cepts of  the  School  of  Health  at  Salerno.     See  also  B.  xx.  c.  19.     At  the 
present  day  it  is  universally  rejected  as  an  article  of  food  in  any  shape. 

14  The  School  of  Salerno  says  that  it  may  be  preserved  by  being  pickled 
in  brine,  or  else  in  the  juice  of  rue,  which,  as  Fee  remarks,  would  pro- 
duce neither  more  nor  less  than  a  veritable  poison.     The  modern  Pharma- 
copoeias give  the  receipt  of  a  conserve  of  elecampane,  which,  however,  is  no 
longer  used. 

15  "  Defrutum."     Must,  boiled  down  to  one  half. 
17  The  daughter  of  Augustus  Caesar. 


it  throws  out  its  shoots  to  a  very  considerable  distance.18 
Skirrets,  however,  are  best  transplanted. 


Next  in  affinity  to  these  plants  are  the  bulbs,19  which  Cato, 
speaking  in  high  terms  of  those  of  Megara,20  recommends  most 
particularly  for  cultivation.  Among  these  bulbs,  the  squill,21 
we  find,  occupies  the  very  highest  rank,  although  by  nature  it 
is  medicinal,  and  is  employed  for  imparting  an  additional  sharp- 
ness to  vinegar.:22  indeed,  there  is  no  bulb  known  that  grows 
to  a  larger  size  than  this,  or  is  possessed  of  a  greater  degree  of 
pungency.  There  are  two  varieties  of  it  employed  in  medi- 
cine, the  male  squill,  which  has  white  leaves,  and  the  female 
squill,  with  black23  ones.  There  is  a  third  kind  also,  which  is 
good  to  eat,  and  is  known  as  the  Epimenidian24  squill ;  the  leaf 
is  narrower  than  in  the  other  kinds,  and  not  so  rough.  .All 
the  squills  have  numerous  seeds,  but  they  come  up  much  more 
quickly  if  propagated  from  the  offsets  that  grow  on  the  sides. 
To  make  them  attain  a  still  greater  size,  the  large  leaves  that 
grow  around  them  are  turned  down  and  covered  over  with 
earth ;  by  which  method  all  the  juices  are  carried  to  the 
heads.  Squills  grow  spontaneously  and  in  vast  numbers  in 
the  Baleares  and  the  island  of  Ebusus,  and  in  the  Spanish  pro- 
vinces.25 The  philosopher  Pythagoras  has  written  a  whole  vo- 
lume on  the  merits  of  this  plant,  setting  forth  its  various  me- 

18  The  same  account  nearly  is  given  in  Columella,  De  Re  Rust.  B.  xi. 
c.  3. 

19  Under  this  general  name  were  included,  probably,  garlic,  scnllions, 
chives,  and  some  kinds  of  onions  ;  but  it  is  quite  impossible  to  identify  the 
ancient  "  bulbus"  more  closely  than  this. 

20  It  has  been  suggested  that  this  was  probably  the  onion,  the  Allium 
cepa  of  Linnaeus. 

21  The  Scilla  maritima  of  Linnaeus,  tbe  sea-squill. 

22  Sec  B.  xx.  c.  39.     He  might  have  added  that  it  renders  vinegar  botli 
an  emetic,  and  a  violent  purgative. 

2:5  The  leaves  are  in  all  cases  green,  and  no  other  colour;  but  in  one 
kind  the  squama3,  or  bracted  leaves,  are  white,  and  in  another,  red. 

24  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.   13.  vii.  c.  11,  gives  it  this  name.    As 
none  of  the  sea-squills  can  be  eaten  with  impunity,  Fee  is  inclined  to 
doubt  if  this  really  was  a  squill. 

25  They  still  abound  in  those  places.     The  Spanish  coasts  on  the  Medi-t 
terraneau,  Fee  says,  as  well  as  the  vicinity  of  Gibraltar,  are  covered  with 

Chap.  30.]  BULBS,  SQUILLS,  AND   ARUM.  169 

dicirml  properties;  of  which  we  shall  have  occasion  to  speak 
more  at  length  in  the  succeeding  Book.36 

The  other  species  of  hulbs  are  distinguished  by  their  colour, 
size,  and  sweetness  ;  indeed,  there  are  some  that  are  eaten  raw 
even — those  found  in  the  Tauric  Chersonesus,  for  instance. 
Next  to  these,  the  bulbs  of  Africa  are  held  in  the  highest 
esteem,  and  after  them  those  of  Apulia.  The  (liveks  have 
distinguished  the  following  varieties:  the  bulbine,37  the  seta- 
nion,^  the  upiti«m,-y  the  eyix,;U)  the  leucoiou,31  the  a^gi lips,3-  and 
the  HSyrinohion" — in  the  last  there  is  this  remarkable  feature, 
that  the  extremities  of  the  roots  increase  in  winter,  hut  during 
the  spring, when  the  violet  appears,  they  diminish  in  size  and 
gradually  contract,  and  then  it,  is  that  the  bulb  begins  to  in- 
crease in  magnitude. 

Among  the  varieties  of  the  bulb,  too,  there  is  the  plant 
known  in  Kgypt  by  the  name  of  "aron."w  In  size  it  is  very 
nearly  as  large  as  the  squill,  with  a  leaf  like  that  of  lapathum, 
and  a  straight  stalk  a  couple  of  cubits  in  length,  and  the  thick- 
ness of  a  walking-stick  :  the  root  of  it  is  of  a  milder  nature, 
so  nnu-h  so,  indeed,  as  to  admit  of  being  eaten  raw. 

Bulbs  are  taken  up  before  the  spring,  for  if  not,  they  are 
apt  to  spoil  very  quickly.  It  is  a  sign  that  they  are  ripe  when 
the  li-aves  become  dry  at  the  lower  extremities.  When  too 
old  they  are  held  in  disesteem;  the  same,  too,  with  the  long 
and  the  smaller  ones;  those,  on  the  other  hand,  which  are  red 
and  round  are  greatly  preferred,  as  also  those  of  the  largest 
sixe.  In  most  of  them  there  is  a  certain  degree  of  pungency 
in  the  upper  part,  but  the  middle  is  sweet.  The  ancients  have 

-"••  In  c.  39. 

-"  Fee  thinks  that  this  may  bo  tho  Muscaria  botryoidos  of  Miller,  Diet. 
No.  I.  See  also  H.  xx.  c.  41. 

*  A  variety,  probably,  of  the  common  onion,  the  Alliumcepa  of  Linnaeus. 

29  Some  variety  of  the  genus  Allium,  Fee  thinks. 

30  Fee  queries  whether  this  may  not  be  some  cyperaceous  plant  with  a 
bulbous  root. 

;il  A  whito  bulb,  if  we  may  judge  from  the  name.  The  whole  of  this 
passim,'  is  from  Theophrastus",  Hist.  Plant.  li.  vii.  c.  11. 

3-  This  has  not  been  ulmtitu'd.  The  old  reading  was  "aegilops,"  a 
name  now  given  to  a  kind  of  grass. 

33  The  Iris  sisyrinchium  of  Linnaeus. 

34  The  Arum  colocasia  of  Linnaeus,  held  in  great  esteem  by  the  ancient 
Egyptians  us  a  veax-taUe.     Tho  root  is  not  a  bulb,  but  tubercular,  and  th<; 
leaf  hears  no  resemblance  to  that  of  the  Lapathum,  dock  or  sorrel.     It 
was  sometimes  known  by  the  name  of  "lotus." 


stated  that  bulbs  are  reproduced  from  seed  only,  but  in  the 
champaign  country  of  Prseneste  they  grow  spontaneously, 
and  they  grow  to  an  unlimited  extent  in  the  territory  of  the 



Nearly  all36  the  garden  plants  have  a  single37  ^ropt  only, 
radishes,  beet,  parsley,  and  mallows,  for  example ;  it  is  lapa- 
thum,  however,  that  has  the  longest  root  of  them  all,  it  attain- 
ing the  length  of  three  cubits  even.  The  root  of  the  wild 
kind  is  smaller  and  of  a  humid  nature,  and  when  up  it  will 
keep  alive  for  a  considerable  period.  In  some  of  these  plants, 
however,  the  roots  are  fibrous,  as  we  find  the  case  in  parsley 
and  mallows,  for  instance;  in  others,  again,  they  are  of  a 
ligneous  nature,  as  in  ocimum,  for  example  ;  and  in  others  they 
are  fleshy,  as  in  beet,  and  in  saffron  even  more  so.  In  some, 
again,  the  root  is  composed  of  rind  and  flesh,  as  in  the  radish 
and  the  rape  ;  while  in  others  it  is  jointed,  as  in  hay  grass.39 
Those  plants  which  have  not  a  straight  root  throw  out  imme- 
diately a  great  number  of  hairy  fibres,  orage39  and  blite,40  for 
instance :  squills  again,  bulbs,  onions,  and  garlic  never  have 
any  but  a  vertical  root.  Among  the  plants  that  grow  spon- 
taneously, there  are  some  which  have  more  numerous  roots 
than  leaves,  spalax,41  for  example,  pellitory,42  and  saffron.43 

Wild  thyme,  southernwood,  turnips,  radishes,  mint,  and  rue 
bLssom  all44  at  once;  while  others,  again,  shed  their  blossom 
directly  they  have  begun  to  flower.  Ocimum45  blossoms  gradu- 

35  In  Gaul.    See  B,  iv.  c.  31. 

36  This  passage,  and  indeed  nearly  the  whole  of  the  Chapter,  is  bor- 
rowed from  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  i.  c.  9. 

37  Fee  thinks  that  by  the  expression  fiovopptZa,  Theophrastus  means  a 
root  that  strikes  vertically,  instead  of  spreading. 

38  Gramen.     See  B.  xviii.  c.  67,  and  B.  xxiv.  c.  118. 

S9  Atriplex.     See  B.  xx.  c.  83.  40  See  B.  xx.  c.  93. 

41  Poinsinet  suggests  that  this  may  mean  the  "  mole-plant/'  acTraXaZ 
being  the  Greek  for  "mole." 

"  "  Perdicium."     See  B.  xxii.  cc.  19,  20. 

43  "  Crocus.'*     See  B.  xxi.  c.  17,  et  seq. 

44  This  is  not  the  fact.    All  these  assertions  are  from  Theophrastus, 
Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.  3. 

45  Fee  thinks  that  the  ocimum  of  Pliny  is  not  the  basil  of  the  moderns, 
the  Ocimum  basilicum  of  the  naturalists.     The  account,  however,  here 
given  would  very  well  apply  to  basil. 

Chap.  32.]  YABIETIES  OF   THE   ONION.  171 

ally,  beginning  at  the  lower  parts,  and  hence  it  is  that  it  is  so 
very  long  in  blossom :  the  same  is  the  case,  too,  with  the  plant 
known  as  heliotropium.46  In  some  plants  the  flower  is  white, 
in  others  yellow,  and  in  others  purple.  The  leaves  fall  first47 
from  the  upper  part  in  wild-marjoram  and  elecampane,  and 
in  rue48  sometimes,  when  it  has  been  injured  accidentally. 
In  some  plants  the  leaves  are  hollow,  the  onion  and  the  seal- 
lion/9  more  particularly. 


Garlic  and  onions80  are  invoked  by  the  Egyptians,81  when 
taking  an  oath,  in  the  number  of  their  deities.  The  Greeks 
have  many  varieties52  of  the  onion,  the  Sardian  onion,  the 
Samothracian,  the  Alsidenian,  the  setanian,  the  schistan,  and 
the  Ascalonian,53  so  called  from  Ascalon,64  a  city  of  Judsea. 
They  have,  all  of  them,  a  pungent  smell,  which85  draws  tears 
from  the  eyes,  those  of  Cyprus  more  particularly,  and  those  of 
Cnidos  the  least  of  all.  In  all  of  them  the  body  is  composed 
of  a  cartilage  of  an  unctuous56  nature.  The  variety  known  as 
the  setanian  is  the  smallest  of  them  all,  with  the  exception  of 
the  Tusculan87  onion,  but  it  is  sweet  to  the  taste.  The  schis- 
tan58 and  the  Ascalonian  kinds  are  used  for  storing.  The 
schistan  onion  is  left  during  the  winter  with  the  leaves  on ;  in 
the  spring  it  is  stripped  of  them,  upon  which  offsets  make 

46  The  Heliotropium  Europaeum  of  botany.     See  B.  xxii.  c.  19. 

47  These  assertions,  Fee  says,  are  not  consistent  with  modern  experience. 

48  See  c.  45  of  this  Book. 

49  "  Gethyum."    The  Allium  schcenoprasum,  probably,  of  botany,  the 
ciboul  or  scallion.  M  The  Allium  cepa  of  Linnaeus. 

51  The  inhabitants  of  Pelusium,  more  particularly,  were  devoted  to  the 
worship  of  the  onion.  They  held  it,  in  common  with  garlic,  in  great 
aversion  as  an  article  of  fooi  At  Pelusium  there  was  a  temple  also  in 
which  the  sea-squill  was  worshipped. 

53  With  some  little  variation,  from  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  yii.  c.  4. 

53  Supposed  to  be  identical  with  the  Allium  Ascalonicum  of  Linnaeus, 
the  chalotte.     Pliny  is  the  only  writer  who  mentions  the  Alsidenian  onion. 

54  To  the  Ascalonian  onion,  the  scallion,  or  ciboul,  owes  its  English  name. 

55  Owing  to  the  acetic  acid  which  the  bulb  contains,  and  which  acts  on 
the  membranes  of  the  eye. 

56  "  Pinguitudinis." 

57  Fee  queries  whether  the  early  white  onion  of  Florence,  the  smallest 
now  known  among  the  cultivated  kinds,  may  not  possibly  be  identical  with 
the  setanian,  or  else  the  Tusculan,  variety. 

68  From  <rx*£w,  to  "  divide"  or  "  tear  off." 


their  appearance  at  the  same  divisions  as  the  leaves  ;  it  is  to 
this  circumstance  that  this  variety  owes  its  name.  Taking 
the  hint  from  this  fact,  it  is  recommended  to  strip  the  other 
kinds  of  their  leaves,  to  make  them  bulb  all  the  better,  instead 
of  running  to  seed. 

The  Ascalonian  onion  is  of  a  peculiar  nature,  being  barren 
in  some  measure  in  the  root ;  hence  it  is  that  the  Greeks  have 
recommended  it  to  be  reproduced  from  seed,  and  not  from  roots : 
the  transplanting,  too,  they  say,  should  be  done  later  in  the 
spring,  at  the  time  the  plant  germinates,  the  result  being  that 
it  bulbs  with  all  the  greater  rapidity,  and  hastens,  as  it  were, 
to  make  up  for  lost  time  ;  great  dispatch,  however,  is  requisite 
in  taking  it  up,  for  when  ripe  it  rots  with  the  greatest  rapi- 
dity. If  propagated  from  roots,  it  throws  out  a  long  stalk, 
runs  rapidly  to  seed,  and  dies. 

There  are  considerable  differences,  too,  in  the  colour  of  the 
onion  ;  the  whitest  of  all  are  those  grown  at  Issus  and  Sardes. 
The  onions,  too,  of  Crete  are  held  in  high  esteem,  but  there 
is  some  doubt  whether  they  are  not  the  same  as  the  Ascalonian 
variety ;  for  when  grown  from  seed  they  produce  a  fine  bulb, 
but  when  planted  they  throw  out  a  long  stalk  and  run  to  seed ; 
in  fact,  they  differ  from  the  Ascalonian  kind  only  in  the  sweet- 
ness of  their  flavour. 

Among  us  there  are  two  principal  varieties  known  of  the 
onion ;  the  scallion,  employed  for  seasonings,  is  one,  known  to 
the  Greeks  by  the  name  of  "  gethyon,"  and  by  us  as  the  "  pal- 
lacana ;"  it  is  sown  in  March,  April,  and  May.  The  other 
kind  is  the  bulbed  or  headed 59  onion ;  it  is  sown  just  after  the 
autumnal  equinox,  or  else  after  the  west  winds  have  begun  to 
prevail.  The  varieties  of  this  last  kind,  ranged  according  to 
their  relative  degrees  of  pungency,  are  the  African  onion,  the 
Gallic,  the  Tusctilan,  the  Ascalonian,  and  the  Amiternian  :  the 
roundest  in  shape  are  the  best.  The  red  onion,  too,  is  more 
pungent  than  the  white,  the  stored  than  the  fresh,  the  raw 
than  the  cooked,  and  the  dried  than  the  preserved.  The  onion 
of  Amiternum  is  cultivated  in  cold,  humid  localities,  and  is 
the  only  one  that  is  reproduced  from  heads,60  like  garlic,  the 
other  kinds  being  grown  from  seed.  This  last  kind  yields  no 

59  "Capitata." 

60  For  this  reason,  Fee  is  inclined  to  regard  it  as  a  variety  either  of 
garlic,  Allium  sativum,  or  of  the  chalotte,  Allium  Ascaionicura  of  Linnseus. 

Chap.  33.]  THE   LEEK.  1/3 

seed  in  the  ensuing  summer,  but  a  bulb  only,  which  dries  and 
keeps ;  but  in  the  summer  after,  the  contrary  is  the  case,  for 
seed  is  produced,  while  the  bulb  very  quickly  spoils.  Hence 
it  is  that  every  year  there  are  two  separate  sowings,  one  of 
seed  for  the  reproduction  of  bulbs,  and  one  of  bulbs  for  the 
growth  of  seed ;  these  onions  keep  best  in  chaff.  The  scallion 
has  hardly  any  bulb  at  all,  but  a  long  neck  only — hence  it  is 
nothing  but  leaf,  and  is  often  cut  down,  like  the  leek  ;  for  this 
reason,  too,  like  the  leek,  it  is  grown  from  seed,  and  not  from 

In  addition  to  these  particulars,  it  is  recommended  that  the 
ground  intended  for  sowing  onions  should  be  turned  up  three 
times,  care  being  taken  to  remove  all  roots  and  weeds  ;  ten 
pounds  of  seed  is  the  proper  proportion  for  a  jugerum.  Savory 
too,  they  say,  should  be  mixed  with  them,  the  onions  being  all 
the  finer  for  it ;  the  ground,  too,  should  be  stubbed  and  hoed 
four  times  at  least,  if  not  oftener.  In  Italy,  the  Ascalonian 
onion  is  sown  in  the  month  of  February.  The  seed  of  the 
onion  is  gathered  when  it  begins  to  turn  black,  and  before  it 
becomes  dry  and  shrivelled. 

CHAP.    33. THE  LEEK. 

"While  upon  this  subject,  it  will  be  as  well,  too,  to  speak  of 
the  leek,61  on  account  of  the  affinity  which  it  bears  to  the  plants 
just  mentioned,  and  more  particularly  because  cut-leek  has 
recently  acquired  considerable  celebrity  from  the  use  made  of 
it  by  the  Emperor  Nero.  That  prince,  to  improve  his  voice,62 
used  to  eat  leeks  and  oil  every  month,  upon  stated  days,  ab- 
staining from  every  other  kind  of  food,  and  not  touching  so 
much  as  a  morsel  of  bread  even.  Leeks  are  reproduced  from 
seed,  sown  just  after  the  autumnal  equinox ;  if  they  are  in- 
tended for  cutting,63  the  seed  is  sown  thicker  than  otherwise. 
The  leeks  in  the  same  bed  are  cut  repeatedly,  till  it  is  quite  ex- 
hausted, and  they  are  always  kept  well  manured.  If  they  are 

61  The  Allium  porrum  of  Linnaeus. 

62  This  prejudice  in  favour  of  the  leek,  as  Fee  remarks,  still  exists.     It 
is  doubtful,  however,  whether  its  mucilage  has  any  beneficial  effect  upon 
the  voice.     See  B.  xx.  c.  21. 

63  Fee  says,  that  it  is  a  practice  with  many  gardeners,  more  harmful 
than  beneficial,  to  cut  the  leaves  of  the  leek  as  it  grows,  their  object  being 
to  increase  the  size  of  the  stalk. 


wanted  to  bulb  before  being  cut,  when  they  have  grown  to 
some  size  they  are  transplanted  to  another  bed,  the  extremities 
of  the  leaves  being  snipped  off  without  touching  the  white  part, 
and  the  heads  stripped  of  the  outer  coats.  The  ancients  were 
in  the  habit  of  placing  a  stone  or  potsherd  upon  the  leek,  to 
make  the  head  grow  all  the  larger,  and  the  same  with  tho 
bulbs  as  well ;  but  at  the  present  day  it  is  the  usual  practice 
to  move  the  fibrous  roots  gently  with  the  weeding-hook,  so  that 
by  being  bent  they  may  nourish  the  plant,  and  not  withdraw 
the  juices  from  it. 

It  is  a  remarkable  fact,  that,  though  the  leek  stands  in  need 
of  manure  and  a  rich  soil,  it  has  a  particular  aversion  to  water ; 
and  yet  its  nature  depends  very  much  upon  the  natural  proper- 
ties of  the  soil.  The  most  esteemed  leeks  are  those  grown  in 
Egypt,  and  next  to  them  those  of  Ostia  and  Aricia.64  Of  the 
leek  for  cutting,  there  are  two  varieties:  that  with  grass- 
green  65  leaves  and  incisions  distinctly  traced  on  them,  and  the 
leek  with  paler  and  rounder  leaves,  the  incisions  being  more 
lightly  marked.  There  is  a  story  told,  that  Mela,66  a  member 
of  the  Equestrian  order,  being  accused  of  inal-adininistration 
by  order  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius,  swallowed  in  his  despair 
leek-juice  to  the  amount  of  three  denarii  in  weight  of  silver, 
and  expired  upon  the  spot  without  the  slightest  symptom  of 
pain.  It  is  said,  however,  that  a  larger  dose  than  this  is  pro- 
ductive of  no  injurious  effects  whatever.67 


Garlic  ^  is  generally  supposed,  in  the  country  more  particu- 
larly, to  be  a  good  specific 69  for  numerous  maladies.  The  ex- 

64  Martial,  B.  xiii.  Epig.  19,  mentions  the  leeks  of  Aricia. 

65  Fee  thinks  that  this  may  be  the  wild  leek,  which  is  commonly  found 
as  u,  weed  in  Spain. 

60  M.  Annaeus  Mela,  the  brother  of  L.  Seneca  the  philosopher,  and  the 
father  of  the  poet  Luean. 

67  Though  Pliny  would  seem  inclined,  as  Fee  says,  to  credit  this  story, 
the  juice  of  the  leek  is  in  reality  quite  harmless. 

6S'  The  Allium  sativum  of  Linnaeus.     It  was  much  eaten  by  the  Roman 

soldiers  and  sailors,  and  by  the  field  labourers.     It  is  in  reference  to  this 

vegetable,  "  more  noxious  than  hemlock,"  that  Horace  exclaims — 

"  0  dura  messorum  ilia !" 

69  It  was  thought  to  have  the  property  of  neutralizing  the  venom  of 

Chap.  34.]  GA11LIC.  1/5 

ternal  coat  consists  of  membranes  of  remarkable  fineness,  which 
are  universally  discarded  when  the  vegetable  is  used ;  the  inner 
part  beiDg  formed  by  the  union  of  several  cloves,  each  of  which 
has  also  a  separate  coat  of  its  own.  The  flavour  of  it  is  pun- 
gent, and  the  more  numerous  the  cloves  the  more  pungent  it 
is.  Like  the  onion,  it  imparts  an  offensive  smell  to  the  breath  ; 
but  this  is  not  the  case  when  it  is  cooked.  The  various  species 
of  garlic  are  distinguished  by  the  periods  at  which  they  ripen : 
the  early  kind  becomes  fit  for  use  in  sixty  days.  Another  dis- 
tinction, too,  is  formed  by  the  relative  size  of  the  heads.  Ulpi- 
cum,70  also,  generally  known  to  the  Greeks  as  "  Cyprian  garlic," 
belongs  to  this  class ;  by  some  persons  it  is  called  "  antisco- 
rodon,"  and  in  Africa  more  particularly  it  holds  a  high  rank 
among  the  dishes  of  the  rural  population ;  it  is  of  a  larger  size 
than  ordinary  garlic.  When  beaten  up  with  oil  and  vinegar, 
it  is  quite  surprising  what  a  quantity  of  creaming  foam  is  pro- 

There  are  some  persons  who  recommend  that  neither  ulpicum 
nor  garlic  should  be  sown  on  level  ground,  but  say  that  they 
should  be  planted  in  little  mounds  trenched  up,  at  a  distance  of 
three  feet  apart.  Between  each  clove,  they  say,  there  should 
be  a  distance  of  four  fingers  left,  and  as  soon  as  ever  three 
leaves  are  visible,  the  heads  should  be  hoed ;  the  cftener  they 
are  hoed,  the  larger  the  size  they  will  attain.  When  they 
begin  to  ripen,  the  stalks  are  bent  downwards,  and  covered 
over  with  earth,  a  precaution  which  effectually  prevents  them 
from  running  to  leaf.  In  cold  soils,  it  is  considered  better  to 
plant  them  in  spring  than  in  autumn. 

Tor  the  purpose  of  depriving  all  these  plants  of  their  strong 
smell,  it  is  recommended  to  set  them  when  the  moon  is  below 
the  horizon,  and  to  take  them  up  when  she  is  in  conjunction. 
Independently  of  these  precautions,  we  find  Menander,  one 
of  the  Greek  writers,  recommending  those  who  have  been 
eating  garlic  to  eat  immediately  afterwards  a  root  of  beet 

serpents ;  and  though  persons  who  had  just  eaten  of  it  were  not  allowed  to 
enter  the  Temple  of  the  Mother  of  the  Gods,  it  was  prescribed  to  those 
who  wished  to  be  purified  and  absolved  from  crimes.  It  is  still  held  in 
considerable  esteem  in  the  south  of  Europe,  where,  by  the  lower  classes, 
great  medicinal  virtues  are  ascribed  to  it. 

70  Theophrastus  says,  Hist,  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.  4,  that  this  is  the  largest 
of  all  the  varieties  of  garlic. 


roasted  on  hot  coals  ;  if  this  is  done,  he  says,  the  strong  smell 
of  the  garlic  will  be  effectually  neutralized.  Some  persons  are  of 
opinion,  that  the  proper  period  for  planting  garlic  and  ulpicum 
is  between  the  festival  of  the  Compitalia 71  and  that  of  the 
Saturnalia.72  Garlic,  too,  can  be  grown  from  seed,  but  it  is 
very  slow,  in  such  case,  in  coming  to  maturity  ;  for  in  the  first 
year,  the  head  attains  the  size  only  of  that  of  a  leek,  in  the 
second,  it  separates  into  cloves,  and  only  in  the  third  it  arrives 
at  maturity  ;  there  are  some,  however,  who  think  that  garlic 
grown  this  way  is  the  best.  Garlic  should  never  be  allowed 
to  run  to  seed,  but  the  stalk  should  be  twisted,  to  promote  its 
growth,  and  to  make  the  head  attain  a  larger  size. 

If  garlic  or  onions  are  wanted  to  keep  some  time,  the  heads 
should  be  dipped  in  salt  water,  made  luke-warm ;  by  doing 
this,  they  will  be  all  the  better  for  keeping,  though  quite 
worthless  for  reproduction.  Some  persons  content  themselves 
with  hanging  them  over  burning  coals,  and  are  of  opinion  that 
this  is  quite  sufficient  to  prevent  them  from  sprouting  :  for  it 
is  a  well-known  fact,  that  both  garlic  and  onions  sprout  when 
out  of  the  ground,  and  that  after  throwing  out  their  thin  shoots 
they  shrivel  away  to  nothing.  Some  persons  are  of  opinion, 
too,  that  the  best  way  of  keeping  garlic  is  by  storing  it  in  chaff. 
There  is  a  kind73  of  garlic  that  grows  spontaneously  in  the 
fields,  and  is  known  by  the  name  of  "  alum."  To  preserve 
the  seeds  that  are  sown  there  from  the  remorseless  ravages  of 
the  birds,  this  plant  is  scattered  over  the  ground,  being  first 
boiled,  to  prevent  it  from  shooting.  As  soon  as  ever  they  have 
eaten  of  it,  the  birds  become  so  stupefied  as  to  be  taken  with 
the  hand  even,74  and  if  they  remain  but  a  few  moments  only 
on  the  spot,  they  fall  fast  asleep.  There  is  a  wild  garlic, 
too,  generally  known  as  "  bear's"  garlic  ;75  it  has  exactly  the 
smell  of  millet,  with  a  very  small  head  and  large  leaves. 

71  Second  of  May.  72  Seventeenth  of  December. 

73  The  Alii  urn  oleraceum  of  Linnaeus. 

71  Fee  refuses  credence  to  this  story. 

75  <t  Ursinum."  The  Allium  ursinum  of  Linnams.  Instead,  however, 
of  having  the  comparatively  mild  smell  of  millet,  its  odour  is  powerful ;  so 
much  so,  as  to  impart  a  strong  flavour  to  the  milk  of  the  cows  that  eat  of 
it.  It  is  very  common,  Fee  says,  in  nearly  every  part  of  France. 

Chap.  35.]  GROWTH    OF   PLANTS.  ]  /7 

CHAP.    35.    (7.) THE    NUMBER    OF   DATS   REQUIRED    FOR  THE  RE- 

Among  the  garden76  plants  which  make  their  appearance 
most  speedily  above  ground,  are  ocimum,  blite,  the  turnip,  and 
rocket ;  for  they  appear  above  the  surface  the  third  day  after 
they  are  sown.  Anise,  again,  comes  up  on  the  fourth  day,  the 
lettuce  on  the  fifth,  the  radish  on  the  sixth,  the  cucumber  and 
the  gourd  on  the  seventh — the  cucumber  rather  the  first  of  the 
two — cresses  and  mustard  on  the  fifth,  beet  on  the  sixth  day 
in  summer  and  the  tenth  in  winter,  orage  on  the  eighth,  onions 
on  the  nineteenth  or  twentieth,  and  scallions  on  the  tenth 
or  twelfth.  Coriander,  again,  is  more  stubborn  in  its  growth, 
cunila  and  wild  marjoram  do  not  appear  till  after  the  thirtieth 
day,  and  parsley  comes  up  with  the  greatest  difficulty  of  all, 
for  at  the  very  earliest  it  is  forty  days  before  it  shows  itself, 
and  in  most  instances  as  much  as  fifty. 

The  age,77  too,  of  the  seed  is  of  some  importance  in  this  re- 
spect ;  for  fresh  seed  comes  up  more  rapidly  in  the  case  of  the 
leek,  the  scallion,  the  cucumber,  and  the  gourd,  while  in  that 
of  parsley,  beet,  cardamum,  cunila,  wild  marjoram,  and  co- 
riander, seed  that  has  been  kept  for  some  time  is  the  best. 

There  is  one  remarkable  circumstance  78  in  connection  with 
the  seed  of  beet ;  it  does  not  all  germinate  in  the  first  year,  but 
some  of  it  in.  the  second,  and  some  in  the  third  even  ;  hence 
it  is  that  a  considerable  quantity  of  seed  produces  only  a  very 
moderate  crop.  Some  plants  produce  only  in  the  year  in  which 
they  are  set,  and  some,  again,  for  successive  years,  parsley, 
leeks,  and  scallions79  for  instance ;  indeed,  these  plants,  when 
once  sown,  retain  their  fertility,  and  produce  for  many  years. 

76  The  whole  nearly  of  this  Chapter  is  borrowed  from  Theophrastus, 
Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  cc.  1  and  2.     It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  what  the 
Romans  called  the  "third"  day  would  with  us  be  the  "  second,"  and  so 
on  ;  as  in  reckoning,  they  included  the  day  reckoned  from,  as  well  as  the 
day  reckoned  to. 

77  Fee  remarks,  that  most  of  the  observations  made  in  this  Chapter  are 
well  founded. 

78  This  statement,  Fee  remarks,   is  entirely  a  fiction,  it  being  impos- 
sible for  seed  to  acquire,  the  second  year,  a  faculty  of  germinating  which 
it  has  not  had  in  the  first. 

79  This  is  true,  but,  as  Fee  observes,  the  instances  might  be  greatly 

VOL.  IV.  TS 

178  PUNT'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XIX. 


In  most  plants  the  seed  is  round,  in  some  oblong ;  it  is  broad 
and  foliaceous  in  some,  orage  for  instance,  while  in  others  it  is 
narrow  and  grooved,  as  in  cummin.  There  are  differences, 
also,  in  the  colour  of  seeds,  which  is  either  black  or  white ; 
while  some  seeds  are  woody  and  hard,  in  radishes,  mustard, 
and  rape,  the  seeds  are  enclosed  in  pods.  In  parsley,  corian- 
der, anise,  fennel,  and  cummin,  the  seed  has  no  covering  at  all, 
while  in  blite,  beet,  orage,  and  ocimum,  it  has  an  outer  coat, 
and  in  the  lettuce  it  is  covered  with  a  fine  down.  There  is  no 
seed  more  prolific  than  that  of  ocimum  ;80  it  is  generally  re- 
commended81 to  sow  it  with  the  utterance  of  curses  and  im- 
precations, the  result  being  that  it  grows  all  the  better  for  it ; 
the  earth,  too,  is  rammed  down  when  it  is  sown,  and  prayers 
offered  that  the  seed  may  never  come  up.  The  seeds  which  are 
enveloped  in  an  outer  coat,  are  dried  with  considerable  diffi- 
culty, that  of  ocimum  more  particularly ;  hence  it  is  that  all 
these  seeds  are  dried  artificially,  their  fruitfulness  being  greatly 
promoted  thereby. 

Plants  in  general  come  up  better  when  the  seed  is  sown  in 
heaps  than  when  it  is  scattered  broad-cast :  leeks,  in  fact,  and 
parsley  are  generally  grown  by  sowing  the  seed  in  little  bags  :82 
in  the  case  of  parsley,  too,  a  hole  is  made  with  the  dibble,  and  a 
layer  of  manure  inserted. 

All  garden  plants  grow  either  from  seed  or  from  slips,  and 
some  from  both  seed  and  suckers,  such  as  rue,  wild  marjoram, 
and  ocimum,53  for  example — this  last  being  usually  cut  when 
it  is  a  palm  in  height.  Some  kinds,  again,  are  reproduced 
from  both  seed  and  root,  as  in  the  case  of  onions,  garlic,  and 
bulbs,  and  those  other  plants  of  which,  though  annuals  them- 
selves, the  roots  retain  their  vitality.  In  those  plants  which 
grow  from  the  root,  it  lives  for  a  considerable  time,  and  throws 
out  offsets,  as  in  bulbs,  scallions,  and  squills  for  example. — 

80  Fee  says  that  basil,  the  Ocimum  basilicum  of  Linnaeus,  is  not  meant 
here,  nor  yet  the  leguminous  plant  that  was  known  to  the  Romans  by  that 

81  A  singular  superstition  truly !    Taeophrastus  says  the  same  in  rela- 
tion to  cummin  seed. 

52  This  is  not  done  at  the  present  day. 

83  This  can  hardly  be  our  basil,  the  Ocimum  bar,ilicum.  for  that  plant  is 
an  annual. 

Chap.  37.]  DIFFERENT   KINDS   OF   PLANTS.  179 

Others,  again,  throw  out  offsets,  though  not  from  a  bulbous 
root,  such  as  parsley  and  beet,  for  instance.  When  the  stalk 
is  cut,  with  the  exception b4  of  those  which  have  not  a  rough 
stem,  nearly  all  these  plants  put  forth  fresh  shoots,  a  thing  that 
may  be  seen  in  ocimum,85  the  radish,86  and  the  lettuce,87  which 
are  in  daily  use  among  us ;  indeed,  it  is  generally  thought  that 
the  lettuce  which  is  grown  from  a  fresh  sprouting,  is  the 
sweetest.  The  radish,  too,  is  more  pleasant  eating  when  the 
leaves  have  been  removed  before  it  has  begun  to  run  to  stalk. 
The  same  is  the  case,  too,  with  rape ;  for  when  the  leaves  are 
taken  off,  and  the  roots  well  covered  up  with  earth,  it  grows 
all  the  larger  for  it,  and  keeps  in  good  preservation  till  the  en- 
suing summer. 

CHAP.    37. PLANTS     OF   WHICH     THERE    IS   BUT    A    SINGLE   KIND. 


Of  ocimum,  lapathum,  blite,  cresses,  rocket,  orage,  coriander, 
and  anise  respectively,  there  is  but  a  single  kind,  these  plants 
being  the  same  everywhere,  and  no  better  in  one  place  than 
in  another.  It  is  the  general  belief  that  stolen88  rue  grows 
the  best,  while,  on  the  other  hand,  bees 89  that  have  been  stolen 
will  never  thrive.  Wild  mint,  cat-mint,  endive,  and  penny- 
royal, will  grow  even  without  any  cultivation.  With  refer- 
ence to  the  plants  of  which  we  have  already  spoken,  or  shall 
have  occasion  to  speak,  there  are  numerous  varieties  of  many 
of  them,  parsley  more  particularly. 

(8.)  As  to  the  kind  of  parsley90  which  grows  spontaneously 
in  mo^t  localities,  it  is  known  by  the  name  of  "  helioselinum;"a] 
it  has  a  single  leaf92  only,  and  is  not  rough  at  the  edges.  In 

84  Fee  suggests  that  Pliny  may  have  intended  here  to  except  the  Mono- 
cotyledons, for  otherwise  his  assertion  would  be  false. 

85  This,  Fee  says,  cannot  be  basil,  for  when  cut  it  will  not  shoot  again. 

86  The  radish  is  not  mentioned  in  the  parallel  passage  by  Theophrastus. 

87  The  lettuce,  as  Fee  remarks,  will  not  shoot  again  when  cut  down. 

83  This  puerility,  Fee  observes,  runs  counter  to  the  more  moral  adage, 
that  "  stolen  goods  never  prosper." 

89  See  B.  xi.  c.  15. 

90  This  variety,  Fee  says,  is  the  Apinin  graveolens  of  Linnaeus. 

91  Or  marsh-parsley. 

92  Pliny  has  mistranslated,  or  rather  misread,  the  passage  of  Theo- 
phrastus,  who  says,  B.  vii.  c.  6,  that  this  kind  of  parsley  is  pa 

N  2 


dry  places,  we  find  growing  the  kind  known  as  "hipposeli- 
num,"93  consisting  of  numerous  leaves,  similar  to  helioselmum 
A  third  variety  is  the  oreoselinum,9i  with  leaves  like  those 
hemlock,  and  a  thin,  fine,  root,  the  seed  being  similar  to  that 
of -anise,  only  somewhat  smaller. 

The  differences,-  again,  that  are  found  to  exist  in  cultivated 
parsley,95  consist  in  the  comparative  density  of  the  leaves,  the 
crispness  or  smoothness  of  their  edges,  and  the  thinness  or 
thickness  of  the  stem,  as  the  case  may  be :  in  some  kinds,  again, 
the  stem  is  white,  in  others  purple,  and  in  others  mottled. 


The  Greeks  have  distinguished  three  varieties  of  the  lettuce  ;96 
the  first  with  a  stalk  so  large,  that  small  garden  gates,97  it  is 
said,  have  been  made  of  it :  the  leaf  of  this  lettuce  is  some- 
what larger  than  that  of  the  herbaceous,  or  green  lettuce,  but 
extremely  narrow,  the  nutriment  seeming  to  be  expended  on 
the  other  parts  of  the  plant.  The  second  kind  is  that  with  a 
rounded98  stalk ;  and  the  third  is  the  low,  squat  lettuce,90  gene- 
rally known  as  the  Laconian  lettuce. 

"thinly  covered  with  leaves,"  and  not  jiotxtyvXAov,  "having  a  single 
leaf."  Palladius  (In  Aprili.)  translates  it,  " molli  folio,"  "with  a  sott 
leaf'"  but,  though  Fee  commends  this  version,  it  is  not  correct. 

93  Or  "  horse-parsley."     Hardouin  takes  this  to  be  Macedonian  parsley, 
the  Buhon  Macedonicum  of  Linnaeus.     Fee,  following  C.  Bauhin  and 
Sprengcl,  is  inclined  to  identify  it  with  Macerona,  the  Smyr.nium  tolusa- 
trum  of  Linnaeus.  „ 

94  Or  "mountain-parsley."     Probahly  the  Athamanta  oreoselir 
Linnrcus.     Some  commentators,  however,  take  it  to  be  the  Laserpitium 
formosum  of  Wilidenow.     Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Selmum  oreose- 
linum  of  Linnaeus. 

95  The  Apium  petroselinum,  probably,  of  Lmnseus. 

96  The  Lactuca  sativa  of  Linnaeus.     This  account  of  the  Greek  varieties 
is  from  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.  4. 

»7  This,  no  doubt,  is  fabulous,  and  on  a  par  with  the  Greek  trad 
that  Adonis  concealed  himself  under  the  leaves  of  a  lettuce,  when  he  was 
attacked  and  killed  by  the  wild  boar.     The  Coss,  or  Roman,  lettuce,  as 
Fee  remarks,  is  the  largest  of  all,  and  that  never  exceeds  fifteen  to  twenty 
inches  i*  height,  leaves,  stalk  and  all. 

»s  This  would  seem  not  to  be  a  distinct  variety,  as  the  rounded  stalk  is 
a  characteristic  of  them  all. 

x>  «  Sessile."    A  cabbage-lettuce,  probably  ;  though  Hardouin  disse 
from  that  opinion. 

Chap.  38.]  THE  ffATTJEE  OF  GAEDEI*  PLANTS.  181 

Some  persons1  have  made  distinctions  in  reference  to  their 
respective  colours,  and  the  times  for  sowing  them :  the  black 
lettuce  is  sown  in  the  month  of  January,  the  white  in  March, 
and  the  red  in  April ;  and  they  are  fit  for  transplanting,  all  of 
them,  at  the  end  of  a  couple  of  months.  Those,  again,  who 
have  pursued  these  enquiries  even  further  than  this,  have  dis- 
tinguished a  still  greater  number  of  varieties  of  them — the 
purple,  the  crisped,  the  Cappadocian,®  and  the  Greek  lettuce, 
this  last  having  a  longer  leaf  than  the  rest,  and  a  broad  stalk  : 
in  addition  to  which,  there  is  one  with  a  long,  narrow  leaf, 
very  similar  to  endive  in  appearance.  The  most  inferior  kind, 
however,  of  all,  is  the  one  to  which  the  Greeks,  censuring  it 
for  its  bitterness,  have  given  the  name  of  "  picris."3  There  is 
still  another  variety,  a  kind  of  white  lettuce,  called  "  meconis,"4 
a  name  which  it  derives  from  the  abundance  of  milk,  of  a 
narcotic  quality,  which  it  produces ;  though,  in  fact,  it  is  gene- 
rally thought  that  they  are  all  of  them  of  a  soporific  tendency. 
In  former  times,  this  last  was  the  only  kind  of  lettuce  that 
was  held  in  any  esteem5  in  Italy,  the  name  "  lactuca  "  having 
been  given  it  on  account  of  the  milk 6  which  it  contains. 

The  purple  kind,  with  a  very  large  root,  is  generally  known 
as  the  Csecilian 7  lettuce ;  while  the  round  one,  with  an  ex- 
tremely diminutive  root  and  broad  leaves,  is  known  to  some 
persons  as  the  "  astytis,"8  and  to  others  as  the  "  eunychion," 
it  having  the  effect,  in  a  remarkable  degree,  of  quenching  the 
amorous  propensities.  Indeed,  they  are,  all  of  them,  possessed 
of  cooling  and  refreshing  properties,  for  which  reason  it  is, 
that  they  are  so  highly  esteemed  in  summer ;  they  have  the 
effect,  also,  of  removing  from  the  stomach  distaste  for  food, 
and  of  promoting  the  appetite.  At  all  events,  we  find  it 
stated,  that  the  late  Emperor  Augustus,  when  ill,  was  saved 

1  Columella  more  particularly.    There  are  still  varieties  known  respec- 
tively as  the  black,  brown,  white,  purple,  red,  and  blood-red  lettuce. 

2  Martial,  B.  v.  Epig.  79,  gives  to  this  lettuce  the  epithet  of  "  vile.*' 

3  It  has  been  suggested  that  this  may  have  been  wild  endive,  the  Cicho- 
reum  intubus  of  botanists. 

4  Or  "poppy-lettuce."      See  B.  xx.  c.  26.    The  Lactuca  virosa,  pro- 
bably, of  modern  botany,  the  milky  juice  of  which  strongly  resembles 
opium  in  its  effects. 

5  For  its  medicinal  qualities,  most  probably.  6  "Lac." 

7  So  called,  Columella    informs  us,    from  Caecilius  Metellus,  Consul 
A.u.c.  503. 

8  Meaning  "  antaphrodisiac."    The  other  name  has  a  kindred  meaning. 


on  one  occasion,9  thanks  to  the  skill  of  his  physician,  Musa,10 
by  eating  lettuces,  a  food  which  the  excessive  scruples  of  his 
former  physician,  C.  _2Emilius,  had  forbidden  him.  At  the 
present  day,  however,  lettuces  have  risen  into  such  high  esti- 
mation, that  a  method  has  been  discoveied  even  of  preserving 
them  during  the  months  in  which  they  are  out  of  season,  by 
keeping  them  in  oxymel.11  It  is  generally  supposed,  also, 
that  lettuces  have  the  effect  of  making  blood. 

In  addition  to  the  above  varieties,  there  is  another  kind  of 
lettuce  known  as  the  "  goats'  lettuce,"12  of  which  we  shall  have 
occasion  to  make  further  mention  when  we  come  to  the  medi- 
cinal plants :  at  the  moment,  too,  that  I  am  writing  this,  a 
new  species  of  cultivated  lettuce  has  been  introduced,  known 
as  the  Cilician  lettuce,  and  held  in  very  considerable  esteem ; 
the  leaf  of  it  is  similar  to  that  of  the  Cappadocian  lettuce, 
except  that  it  is  crisped,  and  somewhat  larger. 

CHAP.    39. ENDIVE. 

Endive,  though  it  cannot  exactly  be  said  to  be  of  the  same 
genus  as  the  lettuce,  still  cannot  be  pronounced  to  belong  to 
any  other.13  It  is  a  plant  better  able  to  endure  the  rigours 
of  the  winter  than  the  lettuce,14  and  possessed  of  a  more  acrid 
taste,  though  the  flavour  of  the  stalk15  is  equally  agreeable. 
Endive  is  sown  at  the  beginning  of  spring,  and  transplanted 
at  the  end  of  that  season.  There  is  also  a  kind  of  spread- 
ing16 endive,  known  in  Egypt  as  "  cichorium,"17  of  which  we 
shall  have  occasion18  to  speak  elsewhere  more  at  length. 

9  A.U.C.  731. 

10  Antonius  Musa.     For  this  service  lie  received  a  large  sum  of  money, 
and  the  permission  to  wear  a  gold  ring,  and  a  statue  was  erected  by  pub- 
lic subscription  in  honour  of  him,  near  that  of  JEsculapius.     He  is  sup- 
posed to  be  the  person  described  by  Virgil  in  the  JEneid,  B.  xii.  1.   390,  et 
seq.,  under  the  name  of  lapis.     See  B.  xxix.  c.  5  of  this  work. 

11  Vinegar  and  honey  ;  a  mixture  very  ill-adapted,  as  Fee  observes,  to 
preserve  either  the  medicinal  or  alimentary  properties  of  the  lettuce. 

12  "Caprina  lactuca."     See  B.  xx.  c.  24. 

13  Endive,  in  fact,  belongs  to  the  same  family  as  the  lettuce. 

14  This  is  not  the  case;    unless,  indeed,  under  the  name  "  lactuca/' 
Pliny  would  include  several  plants,  that  in  reality  are  not  lettuces. 

15  The  stalk,  in  fact,  is  more  intensely  bitter  than  the  leaves. 
«  "  Erraticurn."     Wild  endive. 

17  From  which  comes  the  French  "chicoree,"  and  our  tf  chicory,"  or 
"  succory." 
"  In  B.  xx.  c.  29,  and  B.  xxi.  c.  52. 



A  method  has  been  discovered  of  preserving  all  the  thyrsi 
or  leaves  of  the  lettuce  in  pots,  the  object  being  to  have  them 
fresh  when  wanted  for  boiling.  Lettuces  may  be  sown  all  the 
year19  through  in  a  good  soil,  well-watered  and  carefully  ma- 
nured ;20  two  months  being  allowed  to  intervene  between  sow- 
ing and  transplanting,  and  two  more  between  transplanting 
and  gathering  them  when  ripe.  The  rule  is,  however,  to  sow 
them  just  after  the  winter  solstice,  and  to  transplant  when  the 
west  winds  begin  to  prevail,  or  else  to  sow  at  this  latter  period, 
and  to  plant  out  at  the  vernal  equinox.  The  white  lettuce  is 
the  best  adapted  for  standing  the  rigours  of  the  winter. 

All  the  garden  plants  are  fond  of  moisture  ;  lettuces  thrive, 
more  particularly,  when  well  manured,  and  endive  even  more 
so.  Indeed,  it  is  found  an  excellent  plan  to  plant  them  out  with 
the  roots  covered  up  in  manure,  and  to  keep  up  the  supply,  the 
earth  being  cleared  away  for  that  purpose.  Some,  again,  have 
another  method  of  increasing  their  size  ;  they  cut  them21  down 
when  they  have  reached  half  a  foot  in  height,  and  cover  them 
with  fresh  swine's  dung.  It  is  the  general  opinion  that  those 
lettuces  only  will  admit  of  being  blanched  which  are  produced 
from  white  seed;  and  even  then,  as  soon  as  they  begin -to 
grow,  sand  from  the  sea-shore  should  be  spread  over  them, 
care  being  taken  to  tie  the  leaves  as  soon  as  ever  they  begin 
to  come  to  any  size. 


Beet22  is  the  smoothest  of  all  the  garden  plants.  The  Greeks 
distinguish  two  kinds  of  beet,  according  to  the  colour,  the 
black  and  the  white.  The  last,  which  is  the  kind  generally 
preferred,  has  but  very  little  seed,  and  is  generally  known  as 
the  Sicilian23  beet;  just  as  it  is  the  white  lettuce  that  is  held 
in  the  highest  degree  of  esteem.  Our  people,  also,  distinguish 
two  varieties  of  beet,  the  spring  and  the  autumn  kinds,  so 

19  The  usual  times  for  sowing  the  lettuce  are  before  winter  and  after  , 

20  An  excess  of  manure  is  injurious  to  the  lettuce. 

21  As  already  stated  in  a  previous  Note  (p.  179),  lettuces  when  cut  dov?n 
will  not  grow  again,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  worthless  lateral  branches. 

22  From  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.  4. 

23  Not  the  Beta  sicla  of  modern  botany,   Fee  thinks.     The  black.beet 
of  the  ancients  would  be  one  of  the  dark  purple  kinds. 


called  from  the  periods  of  sowing ;  although  sometimes  we 
find  beet  sown  in  June  even.  This  is  a  plant,  too,  that  is 
sometimes  transplanted ;  and  it  thrives  all  the  better,  like  the 
lettuce,  if  the  roots  are  well  covered  with  manure,  in  a  moist 
soil.  Beet  is  mostly  eaten24  with  lentils  and  beans  ;  it  is  pre- 
pared also  in  the  same  way  as  cabbage,  with  mustard  more 
particularly,  the  pungency  of  which  relieves  its  insipidity. 
Medical  men  are  of  opinion  that  beet  is  a  more  unwholesome25 
vegetable  than  cabbage ;  hence  it  is  that  I  never  remember 
s.eeing  it  served  at  table.  Indeed,  there  are  some  persons  who 
scruple  to  taste  it  even,  from  a  conviction  that  it  is  a  food 
suitable  only  for  persons  of  a  robust  constitution. 

Beet  is  a  vegetable  with  twofold  characteristics,  partaking 
of  the  nature  of  the  cabbage  in  its  leaves  and  resembling  a 
bulb  in  the  root ;  that  which  grows  to  the  greatest  breadth 
being  the  most  highly  esteemed.  This  plant,  like  the  lettuce, 
is  made  to  grow  to  head  by  putting  a  light  weight  upon  it  the 
moment  it  begins  to  assume  its  proper  colour.  Indeed,  there 
is  no  garden  plant  that  grows  to  a  larger  head  than  this,  as  it 
sometimes  spreads  to  a  couple  of  feet  in  breadth,  the  nature  of 
the  soil  contributing  in  a  very  considerable  degree  to  its  size : 
those  found  in  the  territory  of  Circeii  attain  the  largest  size. 
Some  persons26  think  that  the  best  time  for  sowing  beet  is 
when  the  pomegranate  is  in  flower,  and  are  of  opinion  that  it 
ought  to  be  transplanted  as  soon  as  it  has  thrown  out  five 
leaves.  There  is  a  singular  difference — if  indeed  it  really 
exists — between  the  two  varieties  of  beet,  the  white  kind 
being  remarkable  for  its  purgative  qualities,  and  the  black 
being  equally  astringent.  When  wine  in  the  vat  has  been 
deteriorated  by  assuming  a  flavour  like27  that  of  cabbage,  its 
original  flavour  is  restored,  it  is  said,  by  plunging  beet  leaves 
into  it. 

24  It  was  only  the  leaf  of  beet,  and  not  the  root,  that  was  eaten  by  the 
ancients.  From  Martial,  B.  xiii.  Epig.  10,  we  learn  that  the  leaves  were 
preserved  in  a  mixture  of  wine  and  pepper. 

*5  Though  not  positively  unwholesome,  the  leaves  would  form  an  insipid 
dish,  that  would  not  agree  with  all  stomachs.  Galen  says  that  it  cannot 
be  eaten  in  great  quantities  with  impunity,  but  Diphilus  the  physician,  as 
quoted  by  Athenaeus,  B.  ix.  c.  3,  says  the  reverse.  Some  MSS.  read  here 
"inuocentiorem,"  "  more  harmless." 

26  Columella  says  the  same>  De  Re  Rust.  B.  xi.  c.  3. 

27  Fee  would  seem  to  render  this,  "  when  wine  has  been  spoiled  by  cab- 
bage leaves  being  mixed  with  it." 

Chap.  41.]      CABBAGES;    SEVERAL  VARIETIES  OF  THEM.  185 


Cabbage  and  coleworts,  which  at  the  present  day  are  the 
most  highly  esteemed  of  all  the  garden  vegetables,  were  held 
in  little  repute,  I  find,  among  the  Greeks ;  but  Cato,28  on  the 
other  hand,  sings  the  wondrous  praises  of  the  cabbage,  the 
medicinal  properties  of  which  we  shall  duly  enlarge29  upon 
when  we  come  to  treat  of  that  subject.  Cato  distinguishes 
three  varieties  of  the  cabbage ;  the  first,  a  plant  with  leaves 
wide  open,  and  a  large  stalk ;  a  second,  with  crisped  leaves,  to 
which  he  gives  the  name  of  "apiaca  ;"30  and  a  third,  with  a 
thin  stalk,  and  a  smooth,  tender  leaf,  which  with  him  ranks 
the  lowest  of  all.  Cabbages  may  be  sown  the  whole  year 
through,  as  we  find  that  they  are  cut  at  all  periods  of  the  year ; 
the  best  time,  however,  for  sowing  them  is  at  the  autumnal 
equinox,  and  they  are  usually  transplanted  as  soon  as  five 
leaves  are  visible.  In  the  ensuing  spring  after  the  first  cut- 
ting, the  plant  yields  sprouts,  known  to  us  as  "cyma3."31 
These  sprouts,  in  fact,  are  small  shoots  thrown  out  from  the 
main  stem,  of  a  more  delicate  and  tender  quality  than  the 
cabbage  itself.  The  exquisite  palate,  however,  of  Apicius32 
rejected  these  sprouts  for  the  table,  and  his  example  was  fol- 
lowed by  the  fastidious  Drusus  Caesar ;  who  did  not  escape, 
however,  the  censures  of  his  father,  Tiberius,  for  being  so 
over-nice.  After  the  cymaB  have  made  their  appearance  the 
cabbage  throws  out  its  summer  and  autumn  shoots,  and  then 
its  winter  ones ;  after  which,  a  new  crop  of  cymse  is  produced, 
there  being  no  plant  so  productive  as  this,  until,  at  last,  it  is 
quite  exhausted  by  its  extreme  fertility.  A  second  time  for 
sowing  cabbages  is  immediately  after  the  vernal  equinox,  the 
plants  of  this  growth  being  transplanted  at  the  end  of  spring, 
that  they  may  not  run  up  into  sprouts  before  coming  to  a  top : 
and  a  third  sowing  takes  place  about  the  summer  solstice,  the 
transplanting  being  done  in  summer  if  the  soil  is  moist,  but, 
if  too  dry,  in  autumn.  When  moisture  and  manure  are  sup- 
plied in  small  quantities,  the  flavour  of  the  cabbage  is  all  the 

28  Pe  Re  Rust.  cc.  156,  157.  29  In  B.  xx.  c.  33.  ' 

so  Qr  «  parsley"  cabbage,  so  called  from  its  crisped  leaves :  the  curled 

cole  wort,  or  Brassica  viridis  crispa  of  C.  Bauhin. 

11  The  same  as  our  Brussels  sprouts.     Columella,  however,  B.  xi.  c.  3, 

and  B.  xii.  c.  7,  speaks  of  the  Brassica  cyina  as  a  distinct  variety  of  cabbage, 
w  See  B.  yiii.  c.  77. 


more  agreeable,  but  when  they  are  supplied  in  greater  abun- 
dance, the  plants  attain  a  larger  size.  Asses'  dung  is  the  best 
adapted  for  its  growth. 

The  cabbage,  too,  is  one  of  those  articles  so  highly  esteemed 
by  epicures ;  for  which  reason  it  will  not  be  amiss  if  we  speak 
of  it  at  somewhat  greater  length.  To  obtain  plants  equally 
remarkable  for  their  size  and  flavour,  care  must  be  taken  first 
of  all  to  sow  the  seed  in  ground  that  has  had  a  couple  of  turn- 
ings up,  and  then  to  follow  up  the  shoots  as  they  appear  above 
ground  by  moulding  them  up,  care  being  taken  to  throw  up 
the  earth  over  them  as  they  increase  in  luxuriance,  and  to  let 
nothing  but  the  summit  appear  above  the  surface.  This  kind 
is  known  as  the  Tritian33  cabbage :  in  money  and  labour  it 
costs  twice  as  much  as  any  of  the  others. 

The  other  varieties  of  the  cabbage34  are  numerous — there  is 
the  Cumanian  cabbage,  with  leaves  that  lie  close  to  the  ground, 
and  a  wide,  open  head ;  the  Aricinian35  cabbage,  too,  of  no 
greater  height,  but  with  more  numerous  leaves  and  thinner — 
this  last  is  looked  upon  as  the  most  useful  of  them  all,  for 
beneath  nearly  all  of  the  leaves  there  are  small  shoots  thrown 
^out,  peculiar  to  this  variety.  The  cabbage,  again,  of  Pompeii36 
is  considerably  taller,  the  stalk,  which  is  thin  at  the  root, 
increasing  in  thickness  as  it  rises  among  the  leaves,  which  are 
fewer  in  number  and  narrower ;  the  great  merit  of  this  cab- 
bage is  its  remarkable  tenderness,  although  it  is  not  able  to 
stand  the  cold.  The  cabbage  of  Bruttium,37  on  the  other  hand, 
thrives  all  the  better  for  cold ;  the  leaves  of  it  are  remarkably 
large,  the  stalk  thin,  and  the  flavour  pungent.  The  leaves, 
again,  of  the  Sabine38  cabbage  are  crisped  to  such  a  degree  as 
to  excite  our  surprise,  and  their  thickness  is  such  as  to  quite 
exhaust  the  stem  ;  in  sweetness,  however,  it  is  said  to  surpass 
all  the  others. 

There  have  lately  come  into  fashion  the  cabbages  known  as 
the  "  Lacuturres  ;"39  they  are  grown  in  the  valley  of  Aricia, 

33  The  Brassica  oleracea  capitata  of  Lamarck,  and  its  varieties. 

34  The  ordinary  cabbage,  or  Brassica  oleracea  of  Linnaeus. 

35  A  variety,  Fee  thinks,  of  the  Lacuturrian  cabbage. 

36  The  Brassica  oleracea  botrytis  of  Linnaeus,  the  cauliflower. 

37  Or  Calabrian  cabbage  :  it  has  not  been  identified. 

38  The  Brassica  oleracea  Sabellica  of  Linnaeus,  or  fringed  cabbage. 

33  Or  "  Lake-towers."  The  turnip-cabbage  or  rape-colewort,  the  Bras- 
sica  oleracea  gongyloides  of  Linnaeus. 

Chap.  41.]       CABBAGES  ;    SEVEEAL  VARIETIES  OF  THEM.          187 

where  there  was  formerly  a  lake,  now  no  longer  in  existence, 
and  a  tower  which  is  still  standing.  The  head  of  this  cabbage 
is  very  large,  and  the  leaves  are  almost  without  number,  some 
of  them  being  round  and  smooth,  and  others  long  and  sinewy ; 
indeed,  there  is  no  cabbage  that  runs  to  a  larger  head  than  this, 
with  the  sole  exception  of  the  Tritian  variety,  which  has  a 
head  sometimes  as  much  as  a  foot  in  thickness,  and  throws  out 
its  cyma3  the  latest  of  all. 

In  all  kinds  of  cabbages,  hoar-frost  contributes  very  mate- 
rially to  their  sweetness  ;  but  it  is  apt  to  be  productive  of  con- 
siderable injury,  if  care  is  not  taken  to  protect  the  pith  by 
cutting  them  aslant.  Those  plants  which  are  intended  for 
seed  are  never  cut. 

There  is  another  kind,  again,  that  is  held  in  peculiar  esteem, 
and  which  never  exceeds  the  height  of  an  herbaceous  plant ; 
it  is  known  by  the  name  of  "  halmyridia,"40  from  the  circum- 
stance of  its  growing  on  the  sea-shore41  only.  It  will  keep  green 
and  fresh  during  a  long  voyage  even,  if  care  is  taken  not  to  let 
it  touch  the  ground  from  the  moment  that  it  is  cut,  but  to  put 
it  into  oil-vessels  lately  dried,  and  then  to  bung  them  so  as 
to  eifectually  exclude  all  air.  There  are  some 42  who  are  of 
opinion,  that  the  plant  will  come  to  maturity  all  the  sooner 
if  some  sea-weed  is  laid  at  the  root  when  it  is  transplanted, 
or  else  as  much  pounded  nitre  as  can  be  taken  up  with  three 
fingers ;  and  others,  again,  sprinkle  the  leaves  with  trefoil  seed 
and  nitre  pounded  together.43  Nitre,  too,  preserves  the  green- 
ness of  cabbage  when  cooked,  a  result  which  is  equally  ensured 
by  the  Apician  mode  of  boiling,  or  in  other  words,  by  steeping 
the  plants  in  oil  and  salt  before  they  are  cooked. 

There  is  a  method  of  grafting  vegetables  by  cutting  the 
shoots  and  the  stalk,  and  then  inserting  in  the  pith  the  seed 

40  Generally  thought  to  be  the  Crambe  maritima  of  botanists,  sea-cab- 
bage, or  sea-kale.     Some,  however,  take  it  to  be  the  Convolvulus  solda- 
nella  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  xx.  c.  38. 

41  From  a\g,  the  "  sea." 

42  He  alludes  to  the  statement  made  by  Columella,  probably,  De  Re 
Rust.  B.  xi.  c.  3. 

43  Fee  remarks,  that  probably  we  here  find  the  first  germs  of  the  prac- 
tice which  resulted  in  the  making  ofsour-krout  (sauer-kraut).  Dalechamps 
censures  Pliny  for  the  mention  of  trefoil  here,  the  passage  which  he  has 
translated  speaking  not  of  that  plant,  but  of  the  trefoil  or  three-leaved 


of  another  plant ;  a  plan  which  has  been  adopted  with  the  wild 
cucumber  even.  There  is  another  kind  of  wild  cabbage,  also, 
the  lapsana,44  which  has  become  famous  since  the  triumphs  of 
the  late  Emperor  Julius,  in  consequence  of  the  songs  and  jokes 
of  his  soldiers  more  particularly ;  for  in  the  alternate  lines  sung 
by  them,  they  used  to  reproach  him  for  having  made  them  live 
on  lapsana  at  the  siege  of  Dyrrhachium,  and  to  rally  him  upon 
the  parsimonious  scale  on  which  he  was  in  the  habit  of  recom- 
pensing their  services.  The  lapsana  is  nothing  more  than  a 
wild  cyma.45 


Of  all  the  garden  plants,  asparagus  is  the  one  that  requires 
the  most  delicate  attention  in  its  cultivation.  We  have  already46 
spoken  at  considerable  length  of  its  origin,  when  treating  of 
the  wild  plants,  and  have  mentioned  that  Cato 47  recommends 
it  to  be  grown  in  reed-beds.  There  is  another  kind,  again,  of 
a  more  uncultivated  nature  than  the  garden  asparagus,  but  less 
pungent  than  corruda  ;48  it  grows  upon  the  mountains  in  dif- 
ferent countries,  and  the  plains  of  Upper  Germany  are  quite 
full  of  it,  so  much  so,  indeed,  that  it  was  a  not  unhappy  remark 
of  Tiberius  Caesar,  that  a  weed  grows  there  which  bears  a  re- 
markably strong  resemblance  to  asparagus.  That  which  grows 
spontaneously  upon  the  island  of  Nesis,  off  the  coast  of  Cam- 
pania, is  looked  upon  as  being  by  far  the  best  of  all. 

Garden  asparagus  is  reproduced  from  roots,49  the  fibres  of 
which  are  exceedingly  numerous,  and  penetrate  to  a  consider- 
able depth.  When  it  first  puts  forth  its  shoots,  it  is  green ; 
these  in  time  lengthen  out  into  stalks,  which  afterwards  throw 

44  The  same  as  the  "  chara."  prohably,  mentioned  by  Caesar,  Bell.  Civ. 
B.  iii.     Hardouin  thinks  that  it  is  the  common  parsnip,  while  Clusius  and 
Cuvier  would  identify  it  with  the  Crambe  Tatarica  of  Hungary,  the  roots 
of  which  are  eaten  in  time  of  scarcity  at  the  present  day.     Fee  suggests 
that  it  may  belong  to  the  Brassica  napo-brassica  of  Linnaeus,  the  rape- 
colewort.     See  B.  xx.  c.  37. 

45  Or  cabbage-sprout. 

46  In  B.  xvi.  c.  67.     The  Asparagus  officinalis  of  Linnaeus. 

47  De  Ee  Eust.  c.  161. 

48  Or  wild  sperage.     See  B.  xvi.  c.  67  ;  also  B.  xx.  c.  43. 

49  "  Spongiis."     Fee  is  at  a  loss  to  know  why  the  name  "  spongia" 
should  have  been  given  to  the  roots  of  asparagus.     Probably,  as  Faceiolati 
says,  from  their  growing  close  and  matted  together.     See  the  end  of  this 

Chap.  42.J         WILD   AUD    CULTIVATED   ASPAEAGUS.  189 

out  streaked  branches  from  the  head :  asparagus  admits,  also, 
of  being  grown  from  seed. 

Cato  *  has  treated  of  no  subject  with  greater  care  than  this, 
the  last  Chapter  of  his  work  being  devoted  to  it,  from  which 
we  may  conclude  that  it  was  quite  new  to  him,  and  a  subject 
which  had  only  very  recently  occupied  his  attention.  He  re- 
commends that  the  ground  prepared  for  it  should  be  a  moist  or 
dense  soil,  the  seed  being  set  at  intervals  of  half  a  foot  every 
way,  to  avoid  treading  upon  the  heads;  the  seed,  he  says, 
should  be  put  two  or  three  into  each  hole,  these  being  made 
with  the  dibble  as  the  line  runs — for  in  his  day,  it  should  be 
remembered,  asparagus  was  only  grown  from  seed — this  being 
done  about  the  vernal  equinox.  It  requires,  he  adds,  to  be 
abundantly  manured,  and  to  be  kept  well  hoed,  due  care  being 
taken  not  to  pull  up  the  young  plants  along  with  the  weeds. 
The  first  year,  he  says,  the  plants  must  be  protected  from  the 
severity  of  the  winter  with  a  covering  of  straw,  care  being 
taken  to  uncover  them  in  the  spring,  and  to  hoe  and  stub  up 
the  ground  about  them.  In  the  spring  of  the  third  year,  the 
plants  must  be  set  fire  to,  and  the  earlier  the  period  at  which 
the  fire  is  applied,  the  better  they  will  thrive.  Hence  it  is, 
that  as  reed- beds 51  grow  all  the  more  rapidly  after  being  fired, 
asparagus  is  found  to  be  a  crop  remarkably  well  suited  for 
growing  with  them.  The  same  author  recommends,  however, 
that  asparagus  should  not  be  hoed  before  the  plants  have  made 
their  appearance  above-ground,  for  fear  of  disturbing  the  roots ; 
and  he  says  that  in  gathering  the  heads,  they  should  be  cut 
close  to  the  root,  and  not  broken  off  at  the  surface,  a  method 
which  is  sure  to  make  them  run  to  stalk  and  die.  They  should 
be  cut,  he  says,  until  they  are  left  to  run  to  seed,  and  after  the 
seed  is  ripe,  in  spring  they  must  be  fired,  care  being  taken,  as 
soon  as  they  appear  again,  to  hoe  and  manure  them  as  before. 
After  eight  or  nine  years,  he  says,  when  the  plants  have  be- 
come old,  they  must  be  renewed,  after  digging  and  manuring 
the  ground,  by  replanting  the  roots  at  intervals  of  a  foot,  care 
being  taken  to  employ  sheep's  dung  more  particularly  for  the 
purpose,  other  kinds  of  manure  being  apt  to  produce  weeds. 

!Nb  method  of  cultivating  this  plant  that  has  since  been  tried 
has  been  found  more  eligible  than  this,  with  the  sole  exception 
that  the  seed  is  now  sown  about  the  ides  of  February,  by  laying 
50  De  Re  Rust.  c.  161.  51  See  B.  xvii.  c.  47. 


it  in  heaps  in  small  trenches,  after  steeping  it  a  considerable 
time  in  manure  ;  the  result  of  which  is  that  the  roots  become 
matted,  and  form  into  spongy  tufts,  which  are  planted  out  at 
intervals  of  a  foot  after  the  autumnal  equinox,  the  plants  con- 
tinuing to  be  productive  so  long  as  ten  years  even.  There  is 
no  soil  more  favourable  to  the  growth  of  asparagus,  than  that 
of  the  gardens  of  Ravenna.52 

We  have  already 53  spoken  of  the  corruda,  by  which  term  I 
mean  the  wild  asparagus,  by  the  Greeks  called  "  orminos,"  or 
"  myacanthos,"  as  well  as  by  other  names.  I  find  it  stated,  that 
if  rams'  horns  are  pounded,  and  then  buried  in  the  ground, 
asparagus  will  come  up.54 


It  really  might  have  been  thought  that  I  had  now  given  an 
account  of  all  the  vegetable  productions  that  are  held  in  any 
degree  of  esteem,  did  there  not  still  remain  one  plant,  the 
cultivation  of  which  is  extremely  profitable,  and  of  which  I 
am  unable  to  speak  without  a  certain  degree  of  shame.  For 
it  is  a  well-known  fact,  that  some  small  plots  of  land,  planted 
with  thistles,55  in  the  vicinity  of  Great  Carthage  and  of  Cor- 
duba  more  particularly,  produce  a  yearly  income  of  six  thousand 
sesterces  j56  this  being  the  way  in  which  we  make  the  mon- 
strous productions  even  of  the  earth  subservient  to  our  glut- 
tonous appetites,  and  that,  too,  when  the  very  four-footed 
brutes 57  instinctively  refuse  to  touch  them. 

Thistles  are  grown  two  different  ways,  from  plants  set  in 
autumn,  and  from  seed  sown  before  the  nones  of  March  ;58  in 
which  latter  case  they  are  transplanted  before  the  ides  of  No- 
vember,59 or,  where  the  site  is  a  cold  one,  about  the  time  that 
the  west  winds  prevail.  They  are  sometimes  manured  even, 

52  On  the  contrary,  Martial  says  that  the  asparagus  of  Ravenna  was  no 
better  than  so  much  wild  asparagus. 

53  In  B.  xvi.  c.  67.     See  also  c.  19  of  this  Book. 

54  Dioscorides  mentions  this  absurdity,  but  refuses  to  credit  it. 

55  Probably  the  artichoke,  the  Cinara  scolymus  of  Linuseus.     See  fur- 
ther on  this  subject,  B.  xx.  c.  99. 

56  About  £24  sterling.     "  Sestertia"  has  been  suggested,  which  would 
make  the  sum  a  thousand  times  as  much. 

57  The  ass,  of  course,  excepted,  which  is  fond  of  thistles. 

53  Seventh  of  March.  59  Thirteenth  of  November. 

Chap.  45.]  HUE.  191 

and  if60  such  is  the  will  of  heaven,  grow  all  the  better  for  it. 
They  are  preserved,  too,  in  a  mixture  of  honey  and  vinegar,61 
with  the  addition  of  root  of  laser  and  cummin — so  that  a  day 
may  not  pass  without  our  having  thistles  at  table.62 

CHAP.  44. OTHER    PLANTS    THAT    ARE    SOWN    IN    THE    GARDEN: 


For  the  remaining  plants  a  brief  description  will  suffice.  The 
best  time  for  sowing  ocimum,63  it  is  said,  is  at  the  festival  of  the 
Parilia  ;64  though  some  say  that  it  may  be  done  in  autumn  as 
well,  and  recommend,  when  it  is  sown  in  winter,  to  drench 
the  seed  thoroughly  with  vinegar.  Rocket,65  too,  and  nastur- 
tium.66 may  be  grown  with  the  greatest  facility  either  in  sum- 
mer or  winter.  Rocket,  more  particularly,  is  able  to  stand 
the  cold,  and  its  properties  are  quite  different  from  those  of 
the  lettuce,  as  it  is  a  great  provocative  of  lust.  Hence  it  is 
that  we  are  in  the  habit  of  mixing  these  two  plants  in  our 
dishes,  the  excess  of  cold  in  the  one  being  compensated  by  the 
equal  degree  of  heat  in  the  other.  Nasturtium  has  received 
that  name  from67  the  smarting  sensation  which  its  pungency 
causes  to  the  nostrils,  and  hence  it  is  that  a  certain  notion  of 
smartness  has  attached  itself  to  the  word,  it  having  become  quite 
a  proverbial  saying,  that  a  sluggish  man  should  eat  nasturtium, 
to  arouse  him  from  his  torpidity.  In  Arabia,  it  is  said,  this 
plant  attains  a  size  that  is  quite  marvellous. 

*  CHAP.    45. — RUE. 

Rue,68  too,  is  generally  sown  while  the  west  winds  prevail, 
as  well  as  just  after  the  autumnal  equinox.  This  plant  has  an 
extreme  aversion  to  cold,  moisture,  and  dung ;  it  loves  dry, 
sunny  localities,  and  a  soil  more  particularly  that  is  rich  in 
brick  clay  ;  it  requires  to  be  nourished,  too,  with  ashes,  which 

6°  "  Si  Dis  placet."  61  Oxymel. 

62  This  is  evidently  said  contemptuously. 

63  See  further  as  to  the  identity  of  this  plant,  B.  xx.  c.  48. 

64  Twenty-second  of  April. 

65  Brassica  eruca  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  xx.  c.  49. 

66  Cresses,  or  nosesraart,  the  Lepidium  sativum  of  Linnaeus.     See  B. 
xx.  c.  50.  67  u  Quod  nasura  torqueat." 

63  The  Ruta  graveolens  of  Linnaeus.  See  B.  xx.  c.  51,  This  offensive 
herb,  though  looked  upon  by  the  Romans  as  a  vegetable,  is  now  only  re- 
garded as  an  active  medicament  of  almost  poisonous  qualities. 


should  be  mixed  with  the  seed  as  well,  as  a  preservative  against 
the  attacks  of  caterpillars.  The  ancients  held  rue  in  peculiar 
esteem  ;  for  I  find  that  honied  wine  flavoured  with  rue  was 
distributed  to  the  people,  in  his  consulship,69  by  Cornelius 
Cethegus,  the  colleague  of  Quintus  Elamininus,  after  the 
closing  of  the  Comitia.  This  plant  has  a  great  liking70  for  the 
fig-tree,  and  for  that  tree  only ;  indeed,  it  never  thrives  better 
than  when  grown  beneath  that  tree.  It  is  generally  grown 
from  slips,  the  lower  end  of  which  is  inserted  in  a  perforated71 
bean,  which  holds  it  fast,  and  so  nurtures  the  young  plant 
with  its  juices.  It  also  reproduces  itself  ;72  for  the  ends  of  the 
branches  bending  downwards,  the  moment  they  reach  the 
ground,  they  take  root  again.  Ocimum73  is  of  a  very  similar 
nature  to  rue,  except  that  it  dries  with  greater  difficulty. 
"When  rue  has  once  gained  strength,  there  is  considerable  diffi- 
culty in  stubbing  it,  as  it  causes  itching  ulcerations  on  the 
hands,  if  they  are  not  covered  or  previously  protected  by  being 
rubbed  with  oil.  Its  leaves,  too,  are  preserved,  being  packed 
in  bundles  for  keeping. 


Parsley  is  sown  immediately  after  the  vernal  equinox,  the 
seed  being  lightly  beaten74  first  in  a  mortar.  It  is  thought 
that,  by  doing  this,  the  parsley  will  be  all  the  more  crisped, 
or  else  by  taking  care  to  beat  it  down  when  sown  with  a  roller 
or  the  feet.  It  is  a  peculiarity  of  this  plant,  that  it  changes 
colour :  it  has  the  honour,  in  Achaia,  of  forming  the  wreath 
of  the  victors  in  the  sacred  contests  of  the  demean  Games. 

CHAP.  47. — MINT. 
It  is  at  the  same  season,  too,  that  mint75  is  transplanted ;  or, 

69   A.U.C.  421. 

7-°  It  so  happens  that  it  thrives  best  on  the  same  soil  as  the  fig-tree. 

71  This  practice  has  no  beneficial  effect  whatever. 

72  This  is  not  the  fact ;  for  its  branches  never  come  in-  contact  with  the 

73  Pliny  has  derived  the  greater  part  of  this  Chapter  from  Theophrastus, 
Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.  5,  and  Columella,  B.  xi.  c.  3. 

74  For  the  purpose  of  separating  the  seeds,  which  are  slightly  joined  to- 
gether ;  and  of  disengaging  a  portion  of  the  perisperm.    At  the  present 
day  this  is  not  done,  for  fear  of  bursting  the  kernel  of  the  seed. 

™  See  B.  xx.  c.  53. 

ap.  48,]  OLUSATRUM.  193 

if  it  has  not  yet  germinated,  the  matted  tufts  of  the  old  roots 
are  used  for  the  purpose.  This  plant,  too,  is  no  less  fond  of  a 
humid  soil  than  parsley  ;  it  is  green  in  summer  and  turns 
yellow  in  winter.  There  is  a  wild  kind  of  mint,  known  to  us 
as  "mentastrum  :"76  it  is  reproduced  by  layers,  like  the  vine, 
or  else  by  planting  the  branches  upside  down.  It  was  the 
sweetness  of  its  smell  that  caused  this  plant  to  change  its  name 
among  the  Greeks,  its  former  name  with  them  being  "  rnintha," 
from  which  the  ancient  Romans  derived  their  name77  for  it ; 
whereas  now,  of  late,  it  has  been  called  by  them  ^uooy.cof.7* 
The  mint  that  is  used  in  the  dishes  at  rustic  entertainments 
pervades  the  tables  far  and  wide  with  its  agreeable  odour, 
When  once  planted,  it  lasts  a  considerable  length  of  time  ;  it 
bears,  too,  a  strong  resemblance  to  pennyroyal,  a  property  of 
which  is,  as  mentioned  by  us  more  than  once,79  to  flower  when 
kept  in  our  larders. 

These  other,  herbs,  mint,  I  mean,  and  catmint,  as  well  as 
pennyroyal,  are  all  kept  for  use  in  a  similar  manner ;  but  it  is 
cummin80  that  is  the  best  suited  of  all  the  seasoning  herbs  to 
squeamish  and  delicate  stomachs.  This  plant  grows  on  the 
surface  of  the  soil,  seeming  hardly  to  adhere  to  it,  and  raising 
itself  aloft  from  the  ground  :  it  ought  to  be  sown  in  the  middle 
of  the  summer,  in  a  crumbly,  warm  soil,  more  particularly, 
There  is  another  wrild  kind61  of  cummin,  known  by  some  per- 
sons as  ' ' rustic, "  by  others  as  "Thebaic"  cummin:  bruised 
and  drunk  in  water,  it  is  good  for  pains  in  the  stomach.  The 
cummin  most  esteemed  in  our  part  of  the  world  is  that  of 
Carpetania,82  though  elsewhere  that  of  Africa  and  ^Ethiopia 
is  more  highly  esteemed  ;  with  some,  indeed,  this  last  is  pre- 
ferred to  that  of  Egypt. 


Eut  it  is  olusatrum,83  more  particularly,  that  is  of  so  singular 

76  Called  by  the  Greeks  KaXapivOri,  according  to  Apuleius. 

77  Or  "  Meiitha."  78  "  Sweet-smelling." 
79  "  Seepius."     See  B.  xviii.  c.  60. 

fco  The  Cuminum  cyminum  cf  botanists.     See  B.  xx.  c.  57. 

81  See  B.  xx.  c.  57. 

82  In  Hispania  Tarraconensis.     See  B.  iii.  c.  4. 

&3  Or  "black-herb :"  the  herb  Alexander,  the  Smyrnhim  olusatrum  of 
Linu'ceus.  See  B.  xx.  c.  46. 

VOL.   iv.  O 


a  nature,  a  plant  which  by  the  Greeks  .is  called  "hippose- 
]iuum,"a4  and  by  others  "srnyrnium."  This  plant  is  repro- 
duced from  a  tear-like  gum85  which  exudes  from  the  stem  ;  it 
is  also  grown  from  the  roots  as  well.  Those  whose  business 
it  is  to  collect  the  juice  of  it,  say  that  it  has  just  the  flavour  of 
myrrh;  and,  according  to  Theophrastus,86  it  is  obtained  by 
planting  myrrh.  The  ancients  recommended  that  hipposelinum 
should  be  grown  in  uncultivated  spots  covered  with  stones, 
and  in  the  vicinity  of  garden  walls ;  but  at  the  present  day  it 
is  sown  in  ground  that  has  been  twice  turned  up,  between  the 
prevalence  of  the  west  winds  and  the  autumnal  equinox. 

The  caper,87  too,  should  be  sown  in  dry  localities  more  par- 
ticularly, the  plot  being  hollowed  out  and  surrounded  with  an 
embankment  of  stones  erected  around  it :  if  this  precaution  is 
not  taken,  it  will  spread  all  over  the  adjoining  land,  and  entail 
sterility  upon  the  soil.  The  caper  blossoms  in  summer,  and 
retains  its  verdure  till  the  setting  of  the  VergiliaB ;  it  thrives 
the  best  of  all  in  a  sandy  soil.  As  to  the  bad  qualities  of  the 
caper  which  grows  in  the  parts  beyond  the  sea,  we  have 
already88  enlarged  upon  them  when  speaking  of  the  exotic 


The  caraway89  is  an  exotic  plant  also,  which  derives  its 
name,  "  careum,"  from  the  country90  in  which  it  was  first 
grown  ;  it  is  principally  employed  for  culinary  purposes.  This 
plant  will  grow  in  any  kind  of  soil,  and  requires  to  be  culti- 
vated just  the  same  way  as  olusatrum ;  the  most  esteemed, 
however,  is  that  w;hich  comes  from  Caria,  and  the  next  best  is 
that  of  Phrygia. 

CHAP.   50. — LOVAGE. 

Lovage91  grows  wild  in  the  mountains  of  Liguria,  its  native 

84  "  Horse-parsley." 

85  See  B.  xvii.  c.  14,  and  B.  xxi.  c.  14. 

^6  Hist.  Plant.  B.  ix.  c.  1.  This  story  originated,  no  doubt,  in  the  fan- 
cied resemblance  of  its  smell  to  that  of  myrrh. 

b7  The  Capparis  spinosa  of  Linnaeus.  See  B.  xiii.  c.  44,  also  B.  xx. 
c.  59.  sy  In  13.  xiii.  e.  44. 

s9  The  Carum  carvi  of  Linnaeus. 

90  Caria,  in  Asia  Minor. 

91  The  Ligusticum  levisticum  of  Linnaeus. 

Chap.  52.]  GITH.  195 

country,  but  at  the  present  day  it  is  grown  everywhere.  The 
cultivated  kind  is  the  sweetest  of  the  two,  but  is  far  from 
powerful ;  by  some  persons  it  is  known  as  "  panax."  Cra- 
teuas,  a  Greek  writer,  gives  this  name,  however,  to  the  plant 
known  to  us  as  "  cunila  bubula;"92  and  others,  again,  call 
the  conyza93  or  cunilago,  cunila,  while  they  call  cunila,94 
properly  so  called,  by  the  name  of  "  thymbra."  With  us 
cunila  has  another  appellation,  being  generally  known  as 
"  satureia,"  and  reckoned  among  the  seasoning  plants.  It  is 
usually  sown  in  the  month  of  February,  and  for  utility  rivals 
wild  marjoram.  These  two  plants  are  never  used  together, 
their  properties  being  so  extremely  similar  ;  but  it  is  only 
the  wild  marjoram  of  Egypt  that  is  considered  superior  to 


Dittander,95  too,  was  originally  an  exotic  plant :  it  is  usually 
sown  after  the  west  winds  have  begun  to  prevail.  As  soon  as 
it  begins  to  shoot,  it  is  cut  down  close  to  the  ground,  after 
which  it  is  hoed  and  manured,  a  process  which  is  repeated  the 
succeeding  year.  After  this,  the  shoots  are  fit  for  use,  if  the 
rigour  of  the  winter  has  not  injured  them;  for  it  is  a  plant 
quite  unable  to  withstand  any  inclemency96  of  the  weather.  It 
grows  to  the  height  of  a  cubit,  and  has  a  leaf  like  that  of  the 
laurel,97  but  softer ;  it  is  never  used  except  in  combination 
with  milk. 

CHAP.  52. — GITH. 

Gith98  is  employed  by  bakers,  dill  and  anise  by  cooks  and 
medical  men.  Sacopenium,"  so  extensively  used  for  adulter- 

92  "  Ox  cunila."     One  of  the  Labiatae,  probably;  but  whether  one  of 
the  Satureia  or  of  the  Thymbra  is  not  known.     See  B.  xx.  cc.  60,  61 

93  See  B.  »xi.  c.  32. 

94  Scribonius  Largus  gives  this  name  to  savory,  the  Satureia  hortensis 
of  Linnaeus.     The  whole  of  this  passage  is  very  confused,  and  its  mean- 
ing is  by  no  means  clear, 

95  The  Lepidium  sativum  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  xx.  c.  70. 

96  It  is  an  annual,  in  fact. 

97  Its  leaf  has  no  resemblance  whatever  to  that  of  the  laurel. 
18  The  Nigella  sativa  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  xx.  c.  71. 

99  Or  sagapenum.  See  B.  xx.  c.  75.  It  is  mentioned  also  in  B.  xii. 
c.  56,  as  being  used  for  adulterating  galbanum.  As  to  laser,  petfc.  15  of 
the  present  Book. 




ating  laser,  is  also  a  garden  plant,  but  is  only  employed  for 
medicinal  purposes. 

CHAP.  53.  -  THE    POPPY. 

There  are  certain  plants  which  are  grown  in  company1  with 
others,  the  poppy,  for  instance,  sown  with  cabbages  and  purs- 
lain  and  rocket  with  lettuce.     Of  the  cultivated  poppy2  there 
are  three  kinds,  the  first  being  the  white3  poppy,  the  seed  ot 
which   parched,  and  mixed  with  honey,  used  to  be  served  up 
in  the  second  course  at  the  tables  of  the  ancients  ;  at  the  pre 
sent  day,  too,  the  country  people  sprinkle  it  on  the  upper  crust 
of  their  bread,  making  it  adhere  by  means  of  the  yolk  of  eggs, 
the  under   crust  being   seasoned  with  parsley  and   gith  to 
heighten  the  flavour  of  the  flour.     The  second  kind  is  1 
black4  poppy,  from  which,  upon  an  incision  being  made  in  the 
stalk  a  milky  juice  distils  ;  and  the  third  is  that  known  to  the 
Greeks  bv  the  name  of  "rhcens;"5  and  by  iis  as  the  wild 
poppy      This  last  grows  spontaneously,  but  m  neids,  u 
particularly,  which  have  been  sown  with  barley  :  it  bears  a 
strong  resemblance  to  rocket,  grows  to  the  height  of  a  cubit, 
and  bears  a  red  flower,  which   quickly  fades;  it  is  to  this 
flower  that  it  is  indebted  for  its  Greek  name.6 

Is  to  the  other  kinds  of  poppies  which  spring  up  sponta- 
neously we  shall  have  occasion  to  speak  of  them  when  treat- 
ing of  the  medicinal  plants.7  That  the  poppy  has  always  been 
held  in  esteem  among  the  Romans,  we  have  a  proof  m  t 
story  related  of  Tarquinius8  Superbus,  who,  by  striking  down 
the  tallest  poppies  in  his  garden,  surreptitiously  conveyed, 

i  This  practice,  as  Fee  remarks,  is  not  followed;  and  indeed,  unless  it 
is  intended  to  transplant  them,  it  would  be  attended  with  injurious  results 

for  further  particulars  see  B.  *x  c.  76  and  the  Note. 
3  The  variety  Album  of  the  Papaver  somniferum  of  modern  botanists. 
*  The  variety  Nigrum  of  the  Papaver  somniferum.     The  white  poppy 

^paw^toai  of   modern  botanists,   the  corn-poppy,  or  wild 
poppv      The  seed  of  the  poppy  does  not  partake  of  the  qualities 
eapsular  envelope,  and  at  the  present  Say  it  is  extensively  employed  m 
the  South  of  Europe  for  sprinkling  over  pastry. 

s  "  Rhoeas,"  the  "  crimson,"  or  "pomegranate    poppy. 

7  See  B.  xx.  cc.  76—79. 

«  See  c  17  of  this  Book,  also  Ovid's  Fasti,  B.  11.  L  703,  et  seq. 

Chap.  55.]  WILD   THYME;    SISYMBllIUM.  197 

unknown  to  them,  his  sanguinary  message  through  the  envoys 
who  had  been  sent  by  his  son. 



There  are  some  other  plants,  again,  which  require  to  be 
sown  together  at  the  time  of  the  autumnal  equinox  ;  coriander, 
for  instance,  anise,  orage,  mallows,  lapathum,  chervil,  known  to 
the  Greeks  as  "  paederos,"9  and  mustard,10  which  has  so  pun- 
gent a  flavour,  that  it  burns  like  fire,  though  at  the  same  time 
it  is  remarkably  wholesome  for  the  body.  This  last,  though 
it  will  grow  without  cultivation,  is  considerably  improved  by 
being  transplanted  ;  though,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  extremely 
difficult  to  rid  the  soil  of  it  when  once  sown  there,  the  seed 
when  it  falls  germinating  immediately.  This  seed,  when 
cooked  in  the  saucepan,11  is  employed  even  for  making  ragouts, 
its  pungency  being  rendered  imperceptible  by  boiling;  the 
leaves,  too,  are  boiled  just  the  same  way  as  those  of  other 

There  are  three  different  kinds  of  mustard,12  the  first  of  a 
thin,  slender  form,  the  second,  with  a  leaf  like  that  of  the 
rape,  and  the  third,  with  that  of  rocket :  the  best  seed  comes 
from  Egypt.  The  Athenians  have  given  mustard  the  name  of 
"napy,"13  others,  "  thapsi,"14  and  others,  again,  "  saurion."15 


Most  mountains  abound  with  wild  thyme  and  sisymbrium, 
those  of  Thrace,  for  example,  where16  branches  of  these  wild 
plants  are  torn  up  and  brought  away  for  planting,  So,  too, 
the  people  of  Sicyon  seek  for  wild  thyme  on  their  mountains, 

9  "  Lad's  lore." 

10  Black  mustard,  Fee  thinks. 

11  He  can  hardly  mean  a  pottage  made  of  boiled   mustard-seed  alone, 
as  Fee  seems  to  think.     If  so,  however,  Fee  no  doubt  is  right  in  thinking 
that  it  would  be  intolerable  to  a  modern  palate. 

12  See  B.  xx.  c.  87. 

13  Perhaps  a  corruption  of  its  Greek  name,  aivr]Tri. 

14  Hardouin  suggests  "  thlaspi." 

15  Its  bite  being  as  sharp  as  the  venom  of  the  "saurus,''  or  lizard. 

16  Hardouin,  from  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.   B.  vi.  c.   7,  suggests  a 
reading,  "whence  the  streams  bring  down  branches  of  them  torn  off,  and 
so  plant  them." 


and  the  Athenians  on  the  slopes  of  Hymettus.  Sisyrnbrium, 
too,  is  planted  in  a  similar  manner ;  it  grows  to  the  greatest 
perfection  upon  the  walls  of  wells,  and  around  fish  preserves 
and  ponds.17 


The  other  garden  plants  are  of  the  ferulaceous  kind,  such  as 
fennel,  for  instance,  very  grateful  to  serpents,  as  already 
stated,18  and  used  for  numerous  seasonings  when  dried ;  thapsia, 
too,  which  bears  a  close  resemblance  to  fennel,  and  already 
mentioned  by  us  when  speaking19  of  the  exotic  shrubs.  Then, 
too,  there  is  hemp,20  a  plant  remarkably  useful  for  making 
ropes,  and  usually  sown  after  the  west  winds  have  begun  to 
prevail :  the  more  thickly  it  is  sown,  the  thinner  are  the 
stalks.  The  seed  is  gathered  when  ripe,  just  after  the  autumnal 
equinox,  and  is  dried  by  the  agency  of  the  sun,  the  wind,  or 
smoke.21  The  hemp  itself  is  plucked  just  after  vintage- time, 
and  is  peeled  and  cleaned  by  the  labourers  at  night. 

The  best  hemp  is  that  of  Alabanda,22  which  is  used  more 
particularly  for  making  hunting-nets,  and  of  which  there  are 
three  varieties.  The  hemp  which  lies  nearest  the  bark  or  the 
pith,  is  the  least  valuable,  while  that  which  lies  in  the  middle, 
and  hence  has  the  name  of  "  mesa,"  is  the  most  esteemed. 
The  hemp  of  Mylasa23  occupies  the  second  rank.  With  re- 
ference to  the  size  to  which  it  grows,  that  of  Rosea,23*  in  the 
Sabine  territory,  equals  the  trees  in  height.24 

We  have  already  mentioned  two  kinds  of  fennel-giant  when 
speaking25  of  the  exotic  shrubs  :  the  seed  of  it  is  used  in  Italy 
for  food ;  the  plant,  too,  admits  of  being  preserved,  and,  if 
stored  in  earthen  pots,  will  keep  for  a  whole  year.  There  are 

17  The  plants,  Fee  says,  that  we  find  in  these  localities,   are  nearly 
always  ferns,  or  else  Marchantia,  or  mosses  of  the  genus  Hypnum.     Fee 
queries  whether  one  of  these  may  not  have  been  the  sisymbrium  of  Pliny. 
Water-cresses,  again,  have  been  suggested. 

18  In  B.  viii.  c.  41.     The  Anaethum  fceniculum  of  Linnaeus. 

19  In  B.  xiii.  c.  42. 

20  The  Cannabis  sativa  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  xx.  c.  97. 

21  Hemp-seed  is  never  smoke-dried  now. 

22  See  B.  v.  c.  29.     The  same  hemp  is  mentioned  as   being  used  for 
making  hunting-nets,  by  Gratius,  in  the  Cynegeticon. 

23  See  B.  v.  c.  29.  23*  See  B.  iii.  c.  17,  andB.  xvii.  c.  3 

24  This,  as  Fee  says,  is  no  doubt  erroneous.     It  is  seldom  known  to  at- 
tain a  couple  of  inches  in  circumference.  25  In  B.  xiii,  c.  42. 

Chap.  57.]  THE  MALADIES  OF  GARDEN  PLANTS.  199 

two  parts  of  it  that  are  used  for  this  purpose,  the  upper  stalks 
and  the  umbels  of  the  plant.  This  kind  of  fennel  is  some- 
times known  by  the  name  of  "  coryrnbia,"  and  the  parts  pre- 
served are  called  "coryrabi." 


The  garden  plants,  too,  like  the  rest  of  the  vegetable  pro- 
ductions, are  subject  to  certain  maladies.  Thus,  for26  instance, 
ocimum,  when  old,  degenerates  into  wild  thyme,  and  sisym- 
brium27  into  mint,  while  the  seed  of  an  old  cabbage  produces 
rape,  and  vice  versa.  Cummin,  too,  if  not  kept  well  hoed,  is 
killed  by  haemodorum,28  a  plant  with  a  single  stalk,  a  root  si- 
milar to  a  bulb  in  appearance,  and  never  found  except  in  a 
thin,  meagre  soil.  [Besides  this,  cummin  is  liable  to  a  peculiar 
disease  of  its  own,  the  scab  :29  ocimum,  too,  turns  pale  at  the 
rising  of  the  Dog-star.  All  plants,  indeed,  will  turn  of  a 
yellow  complexion  on  the  approach  of  a  woman  who  has  the 
menstrual  discharge30  upon  her. 

There  are  various  kinds  of  insects,31  too,  that  breed  upon  the 
garden  plants — fleas,  for  instance,  upon  turnips,  and  cater- 
pillars and  maggots  upon  radishes,  as  well  as  lettuces  and  cab- 
bages ;  besides  which,  the  last  two  are  exposed  to  the  attacks 
of  slugs  and  snails.  The  leek,  too,  is  infested  with  peculiar 
insects  of  its  own  ;  which  may  very  easily  be  taken,  however, 
by  laying  dung  upon  the  plants,  the  insects  being  in  the  habit 
of  burrowing  in  it.  Sabinus  Tiro  says,  in  his  book  entitled 
"  Cepurica,"32  which  he  dedicated  to  Maecenas,  that  it  is  not 
advisable  to  touch  rue,  cunila,  mint,  or  ocimum  with  any  im- 
plement of  iron. 

26  These  absurd  notions  are  borrowed  from  Theophrastus,  De  Causis,  c.  8. 

27  See  B.  xx.  c.  91. 

28  Or,  according  to  some  readings,  "  limodorum,"  a  parasitical  plant, 
probably  the  Latlmea  phelypea  of  Sprengel.     Fee  suggests  that  this  plant 
may  be  the  Polygonum  convolvulus  of  Linnaeus,  or  else  one  of  the  CuscuUe, 
or  a  variety  of  Orobanche. 

29  "  Scabies."  A  fungous  excrescence,  Fee  thinks,  now  known  as  upuc- 
cinia,"  or  "  uredo." 

30  See  B.  xvii.  c.  47.     Fee  says  that  he  has  met  with  persons,  in  their 
sound  senses,  who  obstinately  defend  the  notion  here  mentioned  by  Pliny. 

31  See  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.  5.  Many  of  these  insects,  how- 
ever, do  not  breed  upon  the  plants,  but  are  only  attracted  to  them. 

32  "Book  on  Gardening." 




The  same  author  recommends  as  a  remedy  against  ants, 
which,  are  by  no  means  the  slightest  plague  in  a  garden  that  is 
not  kept  well  watered,  to  stop  up  the  mouths  of  their  holes  with 
sea-slime  or  ashes.  But  the  most  efficient  way  of  destroying 
them  is  with  the  aid  of  the  plant  heliotropiurn  ;33  some  per- 
sons, too,  are  of  opinion  that  water  in  which  an  unburnt  brick 
lias  been  soaked  is  injurious  to  them.  The  best  protection  for 
turnips  is  to  sow  a  few  fitches  with  them,  and  for  cabbages  chick- 
peas, these  having  the  effect  of  keeping  away  caterpillars.  If, 
however,  this  precaution  should  have  been  omitted,  and  the 
caterpillars  have  already  made  their  appearance,  the  best  remedy 
is  to  throw  upon  the  vegetables  a  decoction  of  wormwood,34  or 
else  of  house-leek,35  known  to  some  as  "  aizoiim,"  a  kind  of 
herb  already  mentioned  by  us.  If  cabbage- seed,  before  it  is 
sown,  is  steeped  in  the  juice  of  house-leek,  the  cabbages,  it  is 
said,  are  sure  not  be  attacked  b}r  any  insect. 

It  is  said,  too,  that  all  caterpillars  may  be  effectually  exter- 
minated, if  the  skull37  of  a  beast  of  burden  is  set  up  upon  a 
stake  in  the  garden,  care  being  taken  to  employ  that  of  a  female 
only.  There  is  a  story  related,  too,  that  a  river  crab,  hung 
up  in  the  middle  of  the  garden,  is  a  preservative  against  the 
attacks  of  caterpillars.  Again,  there  are  some  persons  who  are 
in  the  habit  of  touching  with  slips  of  blood-red  cornel38  such 
plants  as  they  wish  to  preserve  from  caterpillars.  Flies,39  too, 
infest  well- watered  gardens,  and  more  particularly  so,  if  there 
happen  to  be  any  shrubs  there  ;  they  may  be  got  rid  of,  how- 
ever, by  burning  galbanum.40 

(11.)  With  reference  to  the  deterioration  to  which  seed  is 
subject,41  there  are  some  seeds  which  keep  better  than  others, 

33  Tlie  Heliotropiura  Europseiim  of  botanists.     See  B.  xxii.  c.  29. 

34  This  may  possibly,  Fee  says,  be  efficacious  against  some  insects. 

35  See  B.  xviii.  c.  45. 

37  A  mere  puerility,  of  course,  though  it  is  very  possible  that  the  insects 
may  collect  in  it,  and  so  be  more  easily  taken.     Garden-pots,  on  sticks, 
are  still  employed  for  this  purpose. 

38  See  B.  xvi.  c.  80. 

39  "  Culices,"  including  both  flies  and  gnats,  probably. 

40  See  B.  xii.  c.  56. 

41  •  An  almost  literal  translation  of  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vii.  c.6. 

Chap.  60.]    THE  PHOPER  METHOD  OF  WATERING  GARDENS.      201 

such,  for  instance,  as  that  of  coriander,  beet,  leeks,  cresses, 
mustard,  rocket,  cunila,  nearly  all  the  pungent  plants  in  fact. 
The  seed,  on  the  other  hand,  of  orage,  ocimum,  gourds, 
and  cucumbers,  is  not  so  good  for  keeping.  All  the  summer 
seeds,  too,  last  longer  than  the  winter  ones  ;  but  scallion  seed 
is  the  very  worst  for  keeping  of  them  all.  But  of  those,  even, 
which  keep  the  very  longest,  there  is  none  that  will  keep  be- 
yond four  years — for  sowing 42  purposes,  at  least ;  for  culinary 
purposes,  they  are  fit  for  use  beyond  that  period. 


A  peculiar  remedy  for  the  maladies  to  which  radishes,  beet, 
rue,  and  cunila  are  subject,  is  salt  water,  which  has  also  the 
additional  merit  of  conducing  very  materially  to  their  sweet- 
ness and  fertility.  Other  plants,  again,  are  equally  benefitted 
by  being  watered  with  fresh  water,  the  most  desirable  for  the 
purpose  being  that  which  is  the  coldest  and  the  sweetest  to 
drink :  pond  and  drain-water,  on  the  other  hand,  are  not  so 
good,  as  they  are  apt  to  carry  the  seeds  of  weeds  along  with 
them.  It  is  rain,43  however,  that  forms  the  principal  aliment 
of  plants ;  in  addition  to  which,  it  kills  the  insects  as  they 
develope  themselves  upon  them. 


The  proper  times 44  for  watering  are  the  morning  and  the 
evening,  to  prevent  the  water  from  being  heated^5  by  the  sun  ; 
with  the  sole  exception,  however,  of  ocimum,  which  requires 
to  be  watered  at  midday ;  indeed,  this  plant,  it  is  generally 
thought,  will  grow  with  additional  rapidity,  if  it  is  watered 
with  boiling  water  when  sown.  All  plants,  when  trans- 

42  This  is  certainly  not  true  with  reference  to  the  leguminous  and  gra- 
mineous plants.     It  is  pretty  generally  known  as  a  fact,  that  wheat  bus 
germinated  after  being  buried  in  the  earth  two  thousand  years  :  mummy- 
wheat,  at  the  present  day,  is  almost  universally  known. 

43  Rain-water,  if  collected  in  cisterns,  and  exposed  to  the  heat  of  the 
sun,  is  the  most  beneficial  of  all ;  rain  has  the  effect  also  of  killing  nume- 
rous insects  which  have  bred  in  the  previous  drought. 

44  From  Theophrastus,  B.  vii.  c.  5.     Evening  is  generally  preferred  to 
morning  for  this  purpose ;  the  evaporation  not  being  so  quick,  and  the 
plant  profiting  more  from  the  water. 

45  it  should,  however,  be  of  a  middling  temperature,  and  warmed  to 
some  extent  by  the  rays  of  the  sun. 


planted,  grow  all  the  better  and  larger  for  it,  leeks  and  turnips 
more  particularly.  Transplanting,  too,  is  attended  with  cer- 
tain remedial  effects,  and  acts  as  a  preservative  to  certain  plants, 
such  as  scallions,  for  instance,  leeks,  radishes,  parsley,  lettuces, 
rape,  and  cucumbers.  All  the  wild  plants46  are  generally 
smaller  in.  the  leaf  and  stalk  than  the  cultivated  ones,  and  have 
more  acrid  juices,  cunila,  wild  marjoram,  and  rue,  for  example. 
Indeed,  it  is  only  the  lapathum 47  that  is  better  in  a  wild  state 
than,  cultivated  :  in  its  cultivated  state  it  is  the  same  plant 
that  is  known  to  us  as  the  "rumix,"  being  the  most  vigorous48 
by  far  of  all  the  plants  that  are  grown  ;  so  much  so,  indeed, 
that  it  is  said  that  when  it  has  once  taken  root,  it  will  last  for 
ever,  and  can  never  be  extirpated  from  the  soil,  more  particu- 
larly if  water  happens  to  be  near  at  hand.  Its  juices,  which 
are  employed  only  in  ptisans,49  as  an  article  of  food,  have  the 
effect  of  imparting  to  them  a  softer  and  more  exquisite  flavour. 
The  wild  variety 50  is  employed  for  many  medicinal  purposes. 

So  true  it  is,  that  the  careful  research  of  man  has  omitted 
nothing,  that  I  have  even  met  with  a  poem,51  in  which  I  find 
it  stated,  that  if  pellets  of  goats'  dung,  the  size  of  a  bean,  are 
hollowed  out,  and  the  seed  of  leeks,  rocket,  lettuces,  parsley, 
endive,  and  cresses  is  inserted  in  them,  and  then  sown,  the 
plants  will  thrive  in  a  marvellous  degree.  Plants52  in  a  wild 
state,  it  is  generally  thought,  are  more  dry  and  acrid  than  when 


This,  too,  reminds  me  that  I  ought  to  make  some  mention 
of  the  difference  between  the  juices  and  flavours  of  the  garden 
herbs,  a  difference  which  is  more  perceptible  here  than  in  the 
fruits  even.53  In  cunila,  for  instance,  wild  marjoram,  cresses, 
and  mustard,  the  flavour  is  acrid;  in  wormwood54  and  ceu- 

4fi  These  statements  are  consistent  with  modern  experience. 

47  See  B.  xx.  c.  85. 

48  He  says  this  probably  in  reference  partly  to  the  large  leaves  which 
characterize  the  varieties  of  dock. 

49  Dishes  made  of  rice  or  barley.     See  B.  xviii.  c.  13. 

50  See  B.  xx.  c.  85. 

51  He  does  not  give  the  name  of  the  poet,  but,  as  Fee  says,  we  do  not 
experience  any  great  loss  thereby. 

53  From  Theophrastus,  Hist.  PJant,  B.  vii.  c.  6. 

33  See  B.  xv.  c.  32.  w  il  Absinthium."     See  B.  xxvii.  c.  28. 

Chap.  62.1       PIPEKITIS,  LIB  A]S7  OTIS,  AXD  SMYRNIUM.  203 

taury,55  bitter ;  in  cucumbers,  gourds,  and  lettuces,  watery ; 
and  in  parsley,  anise,  and  fennel,  pungent  and  odoriferous. 
The  salt  flavour  is  the  only  one  that  is  not  to  be  found 66  in 
plants,  with  the  sole  exception,  indeed,  of  the  chicheling 5T 
vetch,  though  even  then  it  is  to  be  found  on  the  exterior 
surface  only  of  the  plant,  in  the  form  of  a  kind  of  dust  which 
settles  there. 


To  come  to  a  full  understanding,  too,  both  here  as  elsewhere, 
how  unfounded  are  the  notions  which  are  generally  entertained, 
I  shall  take  this  opportunity  of  remarking  that  panax58  has  the 
flavour  of  pepper,  and  siliquastrum  even  more  so,  a  circum- 
stance to  which  it  owes  its  name  of  piperitis  :59  libanotis,60 
again,  has  just  the  odour  of  frankincense,  and  smyrnium61  of 
myrrh.  As  to  panax,  we  have  spoken  of  it  at  sufficient  length 
already.62  Libanotis  grows  in  a  thin,  crumbly  soil,  and  is 
generally  sown  in  spots  exposed  to  the  falling  dews ;  the  root, 
which  is  just  like  that  of  olusatrum,63  has  a  smell  in  no  way 
differing  from  that  of  frankincense  ;  when  a  year  old,  it  is  ex- 
tremely wholesome  for  the  stomach  ;  some  persons  give  it  the 
name  of  rosmarinum.64  Smyrnium  is  a  garden  herb  that  grows 
in  similar  soils,  and  has  a  root  which  smells  like  myrrh :  sili- 
quastrum, too,  is  grown  in  a  similar  manner. 

Other  plants,  again,  differ  from  the  preceding  ones,  both  in 
smell  and  taste,  anise  &  for  example ;  indeed,  so  great  is  the 
difference  in  this  respect,  and  in  their  relative  virtues,  that  not 
only  are  the  properties  of  each  modified  by  the  other,  but  quite 
neutralized  even.  It  is  in  this  way  that  our  cooks  correct 
the  flavour  of  vinegar  in  their  dishes  with  parsley,  and  our 
butlers  employ  the  same  plant,  enclosed  in  sachets,  for  removing 
a  bad  odour  in  wine. 

55  See  B.  xxv.  c.  30. 

56  Fee  remarks,  that  though  rarely  to  be  met  with,  the  salt  flavour  is 
still  to  be  found  in  the  vegetable  kingdom. 

57  The  "  cicercula,"  or  Lathyrus  sativus  of  Linnaeus.    See  B.  xviii.  c.  32. 

58  See  B.  xii.  c.  57.  59  Or  pepper-wort.     See  B.  xx.  c.  66. 

60  See  B.  xx.  c.  54. 

61  The  same,  probably,  as  olusatrum.     See  cc.  37  and  48  of  this  Book, 
and  B.  xx.  c.  46  :  also  B.  xxvii.  c.  109.  63  In  B.  xii.  c.  57. 

63  See  c.  48  of  this  Book.  M  Rosemary,  or  "  sea-dew." 

65  See  B.  xx.  c.  74. 


66  Thus  far,  then,  we  have  treated  of  the  garden  plants,  viewed 
as  articles  of  food  only ;  it  remains  for  us  now  (for  up  to  the 
present  we  have  only  spoken  of  their  various  methods  of  culti- 
vation, with  some  succinct  details  relative  thereto),  ^to  enlarge 
upon  the  more  elaborate  operations  of  Mature  in  this  respect ; 
it  heing  quite  impossible  to  come  to  a  full  understanding  as  to 
the  true  characteristics  of  each  individual  plant,  without  a 
knowledge  of  its  medicinal  effects,  a  sublime  and  truly  myste- 
rious manifestation  of  the  wisdom  of  the  Deity,  than  whicli 
nothing  can  possibly  be  found  of  a  nature  more  elevated.  It 
is  upon  principle  that  we  have  thought  proper  not  to  enlarge 
upon  the  medicinal  properties  of  each  plant  when  treating  ol 
it ;  for  it  is  a  quite  different  class  of  persons  that  is  interested 
in  knowing  their  curative  properties,  and  there  is  no  doubt 
that  both  classes  of  readers  would  have  been  inconvenienced  in 
a  very  material  degree,  if  these  two  points  of  view  had  engaged 
our  attention  at  the  same  moment.  As  it  is,  each  class  will 
have  its  own  portion  to  refer  to,  while  those  who  desire  to  dc 
so,  will  experience  no  difficulty  in  uniting  them,  with  referenct 
to  any  subject  of  which  we  may  happen  to  treat. 

SUMMARY. — Remarkable  facts,  narratives,  and  observations, 
one  thousand  one  hundred  and  forty-four.- 

EOMAN  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — Maccius  Plautus,67  M.  Varro,61 
D.  Silanus,69  Cato  the  Censor,70  Hyginus,71  Virgil,72  Mucianus,7: 
Celsus,74  Columella,75  Calpurnius  Bassus,76  Mamilius  Sura,7 
Sabinus  Tiro,78  Licinius  Macer,79  Quintus  Hirtius,80  Vibiu; 

66  Fee  suggests,  though  apparently  without  any  good  reason,  that  thi 
paragraph,  to  the  end  of  the  Book,  is  an  interpolation  of  the  copyists. 
6?  °See  end  of  B.  xiv.  HS  See  end  of  B.  ii. 

69  See  end  of  B.  xiv.  70  See  end  of  B.  iii. 

"  See  end  of  B.  iii.  72  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

'*  See  end  of  B.  ii.  r4  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

75  See  end  of  B.  viii.  76  See  end  of  B.  xvi. 

77  See  end  of  B.  x. 

78  Beyond  the  mention  made  of  this  writer  in  c.  57,  nothing  whatever  i 
known  of  him. 

79  C.  Licinius  Macer,  a  Roman  annalist  and  orator,  horn  about  B.C.  110 
Upon  being  impeached  by  Cicero,  he  committed  suicide,     tie  wrote  a  His 
tory  or  Annals  of  Rome,   which  are  frequently  referred  to  by  Livy  air 
Uionysius  of  Halicarnassus. 

80  Nothing  whatever  appears  to  he  known  of  this  writer. 


Rufus,81  Csesennius85  who  wrote  the  Cepurica,  Castritius88  who 
wrote  on  the  same  subject,  Firmus84  who  wrote  ou  the  same- 
subject,  Petrichus  M  who  wrote  on  the  same  subject. 

FOBEIGN  AUTHORS  QUOTED.  —  Herodotus,86  Theophrastus,87 
Demooritus,89  Aristomachus,89  Menander90  who  wrote  the 
Eiochresta,  Anaxilaus.91 

81  See  end  of  B.  xiv. 

82  Nothing  whatever  is  known  relative  to  this  writer  on  Horticulture. 
«»  Nothing  certain  is  known  of  him;  hut  it  has  been  suggested  that  ho 

may  have  been  the  father  of  the  rhetorician  Castritius,  so  often  mentioned 
by  Aulus  Gellius,  and  who  lived  in  the  time  of  the  Emperor  Adrian. 

***  Nothing  whatever  is  known  relative  to  this  writer. 

85  The  author  of  a  Greek  poem  on  venomous  serpents,  mentioned  in  B.  xx. 
c.  96,  and  B.  xxii.  c.  40.  and  by  the  Scholiast  on  the  Theriaca  of  Nicander. 
'  86  See  end  of  B.  ii.  '  87  See  end  of  B.  iii. 

s»  See  end  of  B.  ii.  89  See  end  of  B.  xi. 

90  Nothing  whatever  is  known  of  him.     His  Book  seems  to  have  been  a 
compendium  of  "Things  useful  to  life." 

91  A  physician  and  Pythagorean  philosopher,  born  at  one  of  the  cities 
called  Larissa,  but   which,  is  now  unknown.     He  was  banished  by  th; 
Emperor  Augustus,  B.C.  28,  on  the  charge  of  practising  magic,  a  charge 
probably  based  on  Ins  superior  skill  in  natural  philosophy.     He  is   fre- 
quently mentioned  by  Pliny  in  the  coarse  of  this  work. 





WE  are  now  about  to  enter  upon  an  examination  of  the  greatest 
of  all  the  operations  of  Nature — we  are  about  to  discourse  to 
man  upon  his  aliments,1  and  to  compel  him  to  admit  that  he  is 
ignorant  by  what  means  he  exists.  And  let  no  one,  misled  by 
the  apparent  triviality  of  the  names  which  we  shall  have  to 
employ,  regard  this  subject  as  one  that  is  frivolous  or  con- 
temptible :  for  we  shall  here  have  to  set  forth  the  state  of  peace 
or  of  war  which  exists  between  the  various  departments  of 
Nature,  the  hatreds  or  friendships  which  are  maintained  by 
objects  dumb  and  destitute  of  sense,  and  all,  too,  created — a 
wonderful  subject  for  our  contemplation  ! — for  the  sake  of  man 
alone.  To  these  states,  known  to  the  Greeks  by  the  respec- 
tive appellations  "  sympathia"  and  "  antipathia,"  we  are  in- 
debted for  the  first  principles2  of  all  things  ;  for  hence  it  is  that 
water  has  the  property  of  extinguishing  fire,  that  the  sun 
absorbs  water,  that  the  inoon  produces  it,  and  that  each  of 
those  heavenly  bodies  is  from  time  to  time  eclipsed  by  the 

Hence  it  is,  too,  descending  from  the  contemplation  of  a 
loftier  sphere,  that  the  loadstone3  possesses  the  property  of  at- 

1  Fee  remarks,  that  the  commencement  of  this  exordium  is  contrary  to 
truth,  and  that  Pliny  appears  to  forget  that  in  the  Eighteenth  Book  he 
has  treated,  at  very  considerable  length,  of  the  various  cereals,  the  art  of 
preparing  bread,  pottages,  ptisans.  &c.  He  suggests,  that  the  author  may 
have  originally  intended  to  place  the  Eighteenth  Book  after  the  present 
one,  and  that  on  changing  his  plan  he  may  have  neglected  to  alter  the  pre- 
sent passage.  From  his  mention,  however,  of  man's  "ignorance  by  what 
means  he  exists,"  it  is  not  improbable  that  he  may  have  considered  that 
the  nutritive  qualities  of  plants  are  really  based  upon  their  medicinal  vir- 
tues, a  point  of  view  little  regarded  by  the  majority  of  mankind  in  his 
time,  but  considered  by  Pliny  to  be  the  true  key  to  a  just  appreciation  of 
their  utility.  2  "  Quibus  cuncta  constant."  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  1. 

3  See  B."  xxxiv.  c.  42. 

hap.  2.]  THE   WILD    CUCUMBER.  207 

tractiug  iron,  and  another  stone,4  again,  that  of  repelling  it ; 
and  that  the  diamond,  that  pride  of  luxury  and  opulence, 
though  infrangible  by  every  other  object,  and  presenting  a 
resistance  that  cannot  be  overcome,  is  brokeu  asunder  by  a 
lie-goat's  blood5 — in  addition  to  numerous  other  marvels  of 
which  we  shall  have  to  speak  on  more  appropriate  occasions, 
equal  to  this  or  still  more  wonderful  even.  My  only  request  is 
that  pardon  may  be  accorded  me  for  beginning  with  objects  of 
a  more  humble  nature,  though  still  so  greatly  conducive  to  our 
health — I  mean  the  garden  plants,  of  which  I  shall  now  pro- 
ceed to  speak. 


We  have  already  stated6  that  there  is  a  wild  cucumber,  con- 
siderably smaller  than  the  cultivated  one.  From  this  cucum- 
ber the  medicament  known  as  lt  elaterium"  is  prepared,  being 
the  juice  extracted  from  the  seed.7  To  obtain  this  juice  the 
fruit  is  cut  before  it  is  ripe — indeed,  if  this  precaution  is  not 
taken  at  an  early  period,  the  seed  is  apt  to  spirt8  out  and  be  pro- 
ductive  of  danger  to  the  eyes.  After  it  is  gathered,  the  fruit  is 
kept  whole  for  a  night,  and  on  the  following  day  an  incision 
is  made  in  it  with  a  reed.  The  seed,  too,  is  generally  sprinkled 
with  ashes,  with  the  view  of  retaining  in  it  as  large  a  quan- 
tity of  the  juice  as  possible.  When  the  juice  is  extracted,  it 
is  received  in  rain  water,  where  it  falls  to  the  bottom ;  after 
which  it  is  thickened  in  the  sun,  and  then  divided  into  lozenges, 

4  The  "  theamedes."     See  B.  xxxvi.  c.  25. 

5  Pliny  is  the  only  author  who  makes  mention  of  this  singularly  absurd 

6  In  B.  xix.  c.  24  :  so,  too,  Dioscorides,  B.  iv.  c.  154.     The  wild  cu- 
cumber of  Pliny,  as  Fee  observes,  is  in  reality  not  a  cucumber,  but  a 
totally  different  plant,  the  Cucumis  silvestris  asiuinus  of  C.  Uauhin,  the 
Momordica  elaterium  of  Linnaeus,  or  squirting  cucumber. 

7  Elaterium,  Fee  says,  is  not  extracted  from  the  seed,  but  is  the  juice 
of  the  fruit  itself,  as  Pliny,  contradicting  himself,  elsewhere  informs  us. 
Theophrastus  commits  the  same  error,  which  Dioscorides  does  not ;  and 
it  is  not  improbable  that  Pliny  has  copied  from  two  sources  the  method 
of  making  it. 

B  Meaning  the  juice  and  seed  combined,  probably.  Fee  thinks  that  it 
is  to  this  the  medicament  owes  its  name,  from  iXtivvu,  to  •'  drive"  or 
"impel."  It  is  much  more  probable,  however,  that  the  medicine  was  so 
called  from  its  strong  purgative  powers ;  for,  as  Galen  tells  us, 
was  a  name  given  to  purgative  medicines  in  general. 


which  are  of  singular  utility  to  mankind  for  healing  dimness9 
of  sight,  diseases  of  the  eyes,  and  ulcerations  of  the  eyelids. 
It  is  said  that  if  the  roots  of  a  vine  are  touched  with  this 
juice,  the  grapes  of  it  will  be  sure  never  to  be  attacked  by 

The  root,10  too,  of  the  wild  cucumber,  boiled  in  vinegar,  is 
employed  in  fomentations  for  the  gout,  and  the  juice  of  it  is" 
used  as  a  remedy  for  tooth-ache.  Dried  and  mixed  with  resin, 
the  root  is  a  cure  for  impetigo11  and  the  skin  diseases  known 
as  "  psora"  12  and  "  lichen  :" 13  it  is  good,  too,  for  imposthumes 
of  the  parotid  glands  and  inflammatory  tumours,14  and  restores 
the  natural  colour  to  the  skin  when  a  cicatrix  has  formed. — 
The  juice  of  the  leaves,  mixed  with  vinegar,  is  used  as  an 
injection  for  the  ears,  in  cases  of  deafness. 


The  proper  season  for  making  elaterium  is  the  autumn  ;  and 
there  is  no  medicament  known  that  will  keep  longer  than  this.15 
It  begins  to  be  fit  for  use  when  three  years  old  ;  but  if  it  is 
found  desirable  to  make  use  of  it  at  an  earlier  period  than 
this,  the  acridity  of  the  lozenges  may  be  modified  by  putting 
them  with  vinegar  upon  a  slow  lire,  in  a  new  earthen  pot. 
The  older  it  is  the  better,  and  before  now,  as  we  learn  from 
Theophrastus,  it  has  been  known  to  keep15  so  long  as  two  hun- 
dred years.  Even  after  it  has  been  kept  so  long  as  fifty16 
years,  it  retains  its  property  of  extinguishing  a  light ;  indeed, 

9  Dioscorides,  B.  iv.  c.  154,  states  to  this  effect.     Fee   remarks  that. 
singularly  enough,  most  of  the  antiophthalmics  used  by  the  ancients,  were 
composed  of  acrid  and  almost  corrosive  medicaments,  quite  in  opposition  to 
the  sounder  notions  entertained  on  the  subject  by  the  moderns. 

10  Dioscorides  says  the  same;  and  much  the  same  statements  are  made 
by  Celsus,  Apuleius,  Marcellus  Empiricus,  and  Piinius  Yalerianus.     The 
different  parts  of  the  plant,  dried,  have  but  very  feeble  properties,  Fee  says. 

11  A  sort  of  tetter  or  ring- worm      Celsus  enumerates  four  varieties. 

12  Itch-scab,  probably. 

13  A  disease  of  the  skin,  in  which  the  s-cab  assumes  the  form  almost  of  a 
lichen  or  moss. 

14  "Panos."     "  Panus "  was  the  name  given  to  a  wide-spreading,  but 
not   deeply-seated,  tumour,  the  surface  of  which   presented  a  blistered 

15  Fee  says  that  this  is  not  the  fact,   as  it  speedily  deteriorates  by 

16  From  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  ix.  c.  10. 

Chap.  4.]  ANGUINE    OB   ERRATIC    CUCUMBER.  209 

it  is  the  proper  way  of  testing  the  genuineness  of  the  drug  to 
hold  it  to  the  flame  and  make  it  scintillate  above  and  below, 
before  finally  extinguishing  it.  The  elaterium  which  is  pale, 
smooth,  and  slightly  bitter,  is  superior 17  to  that  which  has  a 
grass-green  appearance  and  is  rough  to  the  touch. 

It  is  generally  thought  that  the  seed  of  this  plant  will  faci- 
litate conception  if  a  woman  carries  it  attached  to  her  person, 
before  it  has  touched  the  ground ;  and  that  it  has  the  effect  of 
aiding  parturition,  if  it  is  first  wrapped  in  ram's  wool,  and  then 
tied  round  the  woman's  loins,  without  her  knowing  it,  care 
being  taken  to  carry  it  out  of  the  house  the  instant  she  is 

Those  persons  who  magnify  the  praises  of  the  wild  cucum- 
ber say  that  the  very  best  is  that  of  Arabia,  the  next  being 
that  of  Arcadia,  and  then  that  of  Cyrenae  :  it  bears  a  resem- 
blance to  the  heliotropium,18  they  say,  and  the  fruit,  about  the 
size  of  a  walnut,  grows  between  the  leaves  and  branches.  The 
seed,  it  is  said,  is  very  similar  in  appearance  to  the  tail  of 
a  scorpion  thrown  back,  but  is  of  a  whitish  hue.  Indeed, 
there  are  some  persons  who  give  to  this  cucumber  the  name  of 
"  scorpionium,"  and  say  that  its  seed,  as  well  as  the  elaterium, 
is  remarkably  efficacious  as  a  cure  for  the  sting  of  the  scor- 
pion. As  a  purgative,  the  proper  dose  of  either  is  from  half 
an  obolus  to  an  obolus,  according  to  the  strength  of  the  pa- 
tient, a  larger  dose  than  this  being  fatal.19  It  is  in  the  same 
proportions,  too,  that  it  is  taken  in  drink  for  phthiriasis20  and 
dropsy  ;  applied  externally  with  honey  or  old  olive  oil,  it  is 
used  for  the  cure  of  quinsy  and  affections  of  the  trachea. 



Many  authors  are  of  opinion  that  the  wild  cucumber  is 
identical  with  the  plant  known  among  us  as  the  "  anguine," 
and  by  some  persons  as  the  "erratic"21  cucumber.  Objects 

17  Fee  acknowledges  the  truth  of  this  observation,  that  of  a  green  colour 
containing  feculent  matter,  and  showing  that  the  juice  is  not  pure. 

18  In  reality  there  is  no  such  resemblance  whatever.     See  B.  xxii.  c.  29. 

19  Fee  says  that  this  is  an  exaggerated  account  of  the  properties  of  the 
wild  cucumber,  as  it  would  require  a  very  considerable  dose  to  cause  death. 

20  The  Morbus  pedicularis,  or  "  lousy  disease." 

21  This  has  been  identified  by  some  writers,  Fee  says,  with  the  Cucumis 
flexuosus  of  Linnaeus;  but,  as  he  observes,  that  plant  comes  originally 

VOL.    IV.  P 

210  PLINY*  S   NATURAL   HISTORY.  [Book  XX. 

sprinkled  with  a  decoction  of  this  plant  will  never  be  touched 
by  mice.  The  same  authors22  say,  too,  that  a  decoction  of  it  in 
vinegar,  externally  applied,  gives  instantaneous  relief  in  cases 
of  gout  and  diseases  of  the  joints.  As  a  remedy,  too,  for  lum- 
bago, the  seed  of  it  is  dried  in  the  sun  and  pounded,  being 
given  in  doses  of  twenty  denarii  to  half  a  sextarius  of  water. 
Mixed  with  woman's  milk  and  applied  as  a  liniment,  it  is  a 
cure  for  tumours  which  have  suddenly  formed. 

Elaterium  promotes  the  menstrual  discharge  ;  but  if  taken 
by  females  when  pregnant,  it  is  productive  of  abortion.  It 
is  good,  also,  for  asthma,  and,  injected  into  the  nostrils,  for 
the  jaundice.23  Rubbed  upon  the  face  in  the  sun,  it  removes 
freckles24  and  spots  upon  the  skin. 


Marjy  persons  attribute  all  these  properties  to  the  cultivated 
cucumber25  as  well,  a  plant  which  even  without  them  would 
be  of  very  considerable  importance,  in  a  medicinal  point  of 
view.  A  pinch  of  the  seed,  for  instance,  in  three  fingers, 
beaten  up  with  cummin  and  taken  in  wine,  is  extremely  bene- 
ficial for  a  cough :  for  phrenitis,  also,  doses  of  it  are  adminis- 
tered in  woman's  milk,  and  doses  of  one  acetabulum  for  dysen- 
tery. As  a  remedy  for  purulent  expectorations,  it  is  taken 
with  an  equal  quantity  of  cummin  ;26  and  it  is  used  with  hy- 
dromel  for  diseases  of  the  liver.  Taken  in  sweet  wine,  it  is  a 
diuretic ;  and,  in  combination  with  cummin,26  it  is  used  as  an 
injection  for  affections  of  the  kidneys. 

from  India,  and  it  is  more  thau  probable  that  it  was  not  known  by  the 
ancients ;  in  addition  to  which,  it  is  possessed  of  no  medicinal  properties 
whatever.  He  looks  upon  it  as  an  indigenous  plant  not  identified. 

22  So  Dioscorides,  B.  iv.  c.  154. 

23  «  Morbus  regius ;"  literally,  the  "  royal  disease." 

24  "  Lentigo." 

25  See  B.  xix.  c.  23.     It  is  but  little  appreciated  for  its  medicinal  pro- 
perties by  the  moderns.     Emulsions  are  sometimes  made  of  the  seeds, 
which  are  of  an  oily  nature.    Fee  says  that  the  French  ladies  esteem 
pommade  of  cucumber  as  an  excellent  cosmetic ;  which  is,  however,  an 
erroneous  notion. 

26  The  combination  of  cummin  with  cucumber  seed  is  in  opposition, 
Fee  remarks,  with  their  medicinal  properties,  the  one  being  soothing,  and 
the  other  moderately  exciting. 

Chap.  6. 1  PEPONES.  211 


The  fruit  known  as  pepones27  are  a  cool  and  refreshing  diet, 
and  are  slightly  relaxing  to  the  stomach.  Applications  are 
used  of  the  pulpy  flesh  in  defluxions  or  pains  of  the  eyes.  The 
root,  too,  of  this  plant  cures  the  hard  ulcers  known  to  us  as 
"  ceria,"  from  their  resemblance  to  a  honeycomb,  and  it  acts 
as  an  emetic.28  Dried  and  reduced  to  a  powder,  it  is  given 
in  doses  of  four  oboli  in  hydromel,  the  patient,  immediately 
after  taking  it,  being  made  to  walk  half  a  mile.  This  powder 
is  employed  also  in  cosmetics29  for  smoothing  the  skin.  The 
rind,  too,  has  the  effect30  of  promoting  vomiting,  and,  when 
applied  to  the  face,  of  clearing  the  skin ;  a  result  which  is 
equally  produced  by  an  external  application  of  the  leaves  of  all 
the  cultivated  cucumbers.  These  leaves,  mixed  with  honey, 
are  employed  for  the  cure  of  the  pustules  known  as  "  epi- 
nyctis;"31  steeped  in  wine,  they  are  good,  too,  for  the  bites 
of  dogs  and  of  multipedes,32  insects  known  to  the  Greeks  by 
the  name  of  "  seps,"3:<  of  an  elongated  form,  with  hairy  legs, 
and  noxious  to  cattle  more  particularly ;  the  sting  being  fol- 
lowed by  swelling,  and  the  wound  rapidly  putrifying. 

The  smell  of  the  cucumber  itself  is  a  restorative34  in  fainting 
fits.  It  is  a  well-known  fact,  that  if  cucumbers  are  peeled  and 
then  boiled  in  oil,  vinegar,  and  honey,  they  are  all  the  more 
pleasant  eating35  for  it. 

27  As  to  the  several  varieties  of  the  pumpkin  or  gourd,  known  under 
this  name,  see  B.  xix.  c.  24. 

28  Dioscorides  states  to  the  same  effect,  and,  as  Fee  thinks,  with  a  pro- 
bability of  being  correct. 

29  "  Smegmata." 

30  This  assertion,  Fee  says,  is  utterly  untrue. 

31  From  fTri,   "upon,"   and  vv£,  "night/'     These  are  red  or  whitish 
pustules,  accompanied  with  sharp  pains,  which  appear  on  the  skin  at 
night,  and  disappear  in  the  day-time.  Seec.  21. 

32  Or  "many-legs."     See  B.  xxix.  c.  39.     Probably  one  of  our  mille- 
pedes or  centipedes  :  though  Fee  suggests  that  it  may  have  been  a  large 

33  From  ffijirtir.  "  to  rot." 

34  This,  Fee  says,  is  untrue  :  but  it  is  hard  to  say  on  what  grounds  he 
himself  asserts  that  the  smell  of  the  cucumber  is  faint,  and  almosi  nauseous. 

a5  This,  probably,  is  not  conformable  to  modern  notions  on  the  subject. 

P  2 


CHAP.   7.  (3.)  —  THE  GOURD:    SEVENTEEN  REMEDIES.      THE 


There  is  found  also  a  wild  gourd,  called  "  somphos"  by  the 
Greeks,  empty  within  (to  which  circumstance  it  owes  its 
name),36  and  long  and  thick  in  shape,  like  the  finger :  it  grows 
nowhere  except  upon  stony  spots.  The  juice  of  this  gourd, 
when  chewed,  is  very  beneficial  to  the  stomach.37 


There  is  another  variety  of  the  wild  gourd,  known  as  the 
"  colocynthis  :"  38  this  kind  is  full  of  seeds,  but  not  so  large  as 
the  cultivated  one.  The  pale  colocynthis  is  better  than  those 
of  a  grass-green  colour.  Employed  by  itself  when  dried,  it 
acts  as  a  very  powerful39  purgative  ;  used  as  an  injection,  it  is 
a  remedy  for  all  diseases  of  the  intestines,  the  kidneys,  and  the 
loins,  as  well  as  for  paralysis.  The  seed  being  first  removed,  it 
is  boiled  down  in  hydromel  to  one  half;  after  which  it  is  used  as 
an  injection,  with  perfect  safety,  in  doses  of  four  oboli.  It  is 
good,  too,  for  the  stomach,  taken  in  pills  composed  of  the  dried 
powder  and  boiled  honey.  In  jaundice  seven  seeds  of  it  may 
be  taken  with  beneficial  effects,  with  a  draught  of  hydromel 
immediately  after. 

The  pulp  of  this  fruit,  taken  with  wormwood  and  salt,  is  a 
remedy  for  toothache,  and  the  juice  of  it,  warmed  with  vinegar, 
has  the  effect  of  strengthening  loose  teeth.  Eubbed  in  with 
oil,  it  removes  pains  of  the  spine,  loins,  and  hips  :  in  addition 
to  which,  really  a  marvellous  thing  to  speak  of !  the  seeds  of 
it,  in  even  numbers,  attached  to  the  body  in  a  linen  cloth, 
will  cure,  it  is  said,  the  fevers  to  which  the  Greeks  have 
given  the  name  of  "periodic,"40  The  juice,  too,  of  the  cultivated 
86  From  the  Greek  ero/i^oc,  porous,  spongy,  or  hollow. 

37  It  is  supposed  by  some  naturalists  that  this  gourd  is  the  variety 
Pyxidaris  of  the  Cucurbita  pepo  of  Linnaeus,  the  Colocynthis  araara  of 
C.  Bauhin.     Fee  remarks,  however,  that  this  designation  is  arbitrary ;  as 
this  plant  never  grows  wild  in  Europe,  and  its  pulp  is  so  bitter,  that  instead 
of  proving  beneficial  to  the  stomach,  it  would  cause  vomiting.     From  the 
fact  of  its  comparison  to  the  human  finger,  he  doubts  if  it  really  was  one 
of  the  Cucurbitse  at  all. 

38  The  Cucumis  colocynthus  of  Linnaeus,  or  Coloquintida,  so  remarkable 
for  its  bitterness. 

39  It  is  an  extremely  drastic,  and  indeed  violent  purgative. 

40  Recurring  at  stated  times.     The  absurdity  of  this  statement  does  not 
require  discussion. 

Chap.  9.]  RAPE.  213 

gourd41  shred  in  pieces,  applied  warm,  is  good  for  ear-ache, 
and  the  flesh  of  the  inside,  used  without  the  seed,  for  corns  on 
the  feet  and  the  suppurations  known  to  the  Greeks  as  "  apos- 
temata."42-  "When  the  pulp  and  seeds  are  boiled  together,  the 
decoction  is  good  for  strengthening  loose  teeth,  and  for  prevent- 
ing toothache ;  wine,  too,  hoiled  with  this  plant,  is  curative  of 
defluxions  of  the  eyes.  The  leaves  of  it,  bruised  with  fresh 
cypress-leaves,  or  the  leaves  alone,  boiled  in  a  vessel  of  potters* 
clay  and  beaten  up  with  goose-grease,  and  then  applied  to  the 
part  affected,  are  an  excellent  cure  for  wounds.  Fresh  shav- 
ings of  the  rind  are  used  as  a  cooling  application  for  gout,  and 
burning  pains  in  the  head,  in  infants  more  particularly ;  they 
are  good,  too,  for  erjrsipelas,43  whether  it  is  the  shavings  of 
the  rind  or  the  seeds  of  the  plant  that  are  applied  to  the  part 
affected.  The  juice  of  the  scrapings,  employed  as  a  liniment 
with  rose-oil  and  vinegar,  moderates  the  burning  heats  of 
fevers ;  and  the  ashes  of  the  dried  fruit  applied  to  burns  are 
efficacious  in  a  most  remarkable  degree. 

Chrysippus,  the  physician,  condemned  the  use  of  the  gourd 
as  a  food  :  it  is  generally  agreed,  however,  that  it  is  extremely 
good44  for  the  stomach,  and  for  ulcerations  of  the  intestines 
and  of  the  bladder. 

CHAP.  9. EAPE  J    NINE    11EMEBJES. 

Rape,  too,  lias  its  medicinal  properties.  "Warmed,  it  is  used  as 
an  application  for  the  cure  of  chilblains,45  in  addition  to  which, 
it  has  the  effect  of  protecting  the  feet  from  cold.  A  hot  decoc- 
tion of  rape  is  employed  for  the  cure  of  cold  gout ;  and  raw 
rape,  beaten  up  with  salt,  is  good  for  all  maladies  of  the  feet. 
Rape-seed,  used  as  a  liniment,  and  taken  in  drink,  with  wine, 
is  said  to  have  a  salutary  effect46  against  the  stings  of  serpents, 

41  The  cultivated  cucumber,  Fee  says. 

42  Or  **  apostbumes,"  a  kind  of  abscess,  probably. 

45  «  Ignis  sacer,"  literally  "  sacred  fire."  It  is  sometimes  called  "  St.  An- 
tbony's  fire."  Celsus,  in  describing  it,  distinguishes  it,  however,  from 
erysipelas,  and  divides  it  into  two  kinds. 

44  On  tho  contrary,  F£e  says,  the  pulp  of  tbe  gourd  is  tough  and  lea- 
thery, extremely  insipid,  and  destitute  of  any  salutary  qualities. 

45  A  decoction  of  rape  or  turnips  is  still  recommended  for  chilblains  at 
the  present  day.     Fee  remarks  that  ground  mustard  is  much  preferable. 

46  This,  as  Fee  remarks,  he  says  of  nearly  all  the  vegetable  productions 


and  various  narcotic  poisons ;  and  there  are  many  persons  who 
attribute  to  it  the  properties  of  an  antidote,  when  taken  with 
wine  and  oil. 

Democritus  has  entirely  repudiated  the  use  of  rape  as  an 
article  of  food,  in  consequence  of  the  flatulence 47  which  it  pro- 
duces ;  while  Diocles,  on  the  other  hand,  has  greatly  extolled 
it,  and  has  even  gone  so  far  as  to  say  that  it  acts  as  an  aphro- 
disiac.48 Dionysius,  too,  says  the  same  of  rape,  and  more  par- 
ticularly if  it  is  seasoned  with  rocket  ;49  he  adds,  also,  that 
roasted,  and  then  applied  with  grease,  it  is  excellent  for  pains 
in  the  joints. 


Wild  rape 50  is  mostly  found  growing  in  the  fields  ;  it  has  a 
tufted  top,  with  a  white 51  seed,  twice  as  large  as  that  of  the 
poppy.  This  plant  is  often  employed  for  smoothing  the  skin 
of  the  face  and  the  body  generally,  meal  of  fitches,52  barley, 
wheat,  and  lupines,  being  mixed  with  it  in  equal  proportions. 

The  root  of  the  wild  rape  is  applied  to  no  useful  purpose 



The  Greeks  distinguish  two  kinds  of  turnips,53  also,  as  em- 
ployed in  medicine.  The  turnip  with  angular  stalks  and  a 
flower  like  that  of  anise,  and  known  by  them  as  "  bunion,"  54  is 

47  It  is  only  suited  as  an  aliment  to  a  strong  stomach,  and  it  is  owing 
to  the  property  here  mentioned  that  the  School  of  Salerno  says, — 

Ventum  seepe  capis,  si  tu  vis  vivere  rapis. 

Rapa  jnvat  stomachum,  novit  producere  ventum. 

48  Dioscorides  and  Galen  say  the  same,  but  this  property  is  not  recog- 
nized in  modern  times. 

49  "  Eruca  :"  a  plant  itself  of  a  very  stimulating  nature. 

50  The  Brassica  napus,  var.  a  of  Linnaeus,  the  Brassica  asperifolia,  var. 
a  of  Decandolles,  the  "  navette"  of  the  French.  An  oil  is  extracted  from  the 
seed,  very  similar  to  the  Colza  oil,  extracted  from  the  Brassica  oleraoca. 

51  It  is  in  reality  of  a  blackish  hue  without,  and  white  within. 

62  See  B.  xxii.  c.  73.  Dioscorides  speaks  of  the  use  of  the  wild  rape 
for  this  purpose,  B.  ii.  c.  135. 

53  See  B.  xviii.  c.  35,  and  B.  xix.  c.  25. 

54  Dalechamps  remarks  that  Pliny  hero  confounds  the  bunion  with  the 
bunias  ;  the  first  of  which,  as  Fee  says,  is  an  umbellifera,  either  the  Bun- 

Chap.  13.]  THE    CULTIVATED   RADISH.  215 

good  for  promoting  the  menstrual  discharge  in  females  and  for 
affections 55  of  the  bladder ;  it  acts,  also,  as  a  diuretic.  For 
these  purposes,  a  decoction  of  it  is  taken  with  hydromel,  or  else 
one  drachma  of  the  juice  of  the  plant.56  The  seed,  parched,  and 
then  beaten  up,  and  taken  in  warm  water,  in  doses  of  four 
cyathi,  is  a  good  remedy  for  dysentery  ;  it  will  stop  the  pas- 
sage of  the  urine,  however,  if  linseed  is  not  taken  with  it. 

The  other  kind  of  turnip  is  known  by  the  name  of  "  bunias," 57 
and  bears  a  considerable  resemblance  to  the  radish  and  the  rape 
united,  the  seed  of  it  enjoying  the  reputation  of  being  a  remedy 
for  poisons ;  hence  it  is  tliat  we  find  it  employed  in  antidotes. 


We  have  already  said,58  that  there  is  also  a  wild  radish.59 
The  most  esteemed  is  that  of  Arcadia,  though  it  is  also  found 
growing  in  other  countries  as  well.  It  is  only  efficacious  as  a 
diuretic,  being  in  other  respects  of  a  heating  nature.  In  Italy, 
it  is  known  also  by  the  name  of  "  armoracia." 


The  cultivated  radish,  too,  in  addition  to  what  we  have 
already  said60  of  it,  purges  the  stomach,  attenuates  the  phlegm, 
acts  as  a  diuretic,  and  detaches  the  bilious  secretions.  A  de- 
coction of  the  rind  of  radishes  in  wine,  taken  in  the  morning 
in  doses  of  three  cyathi,  has  the  effect  of  breaking  and  expel- 
ling calculi  of  the  bladder.  A  decoction,  too,  of  this  rind  in 
vinegar  and  water,  is  employed  as  a  liniment  for  the  stings  of 
serpents.  Taken  fasting  in  the  morning  with  honey,  radishes 
are  good61  for  a  cough.  Parched  radish-seed,  as  well  as 

ium  bulbocastanum  of  Linnneus,  or  the  Peucedanum  silaus  of  Linnaeus, 
and  the  second  is  the  Brassica  napo-brassica  of  Linnaeus.  Dioscorides 
says  that  the  stalks  of  the  bunion  are  quadrangular.  M.  Fraas  thinks 
that  the  bunion  is  the  Bunium  pumilum  of  modern  Botany,  and  says  that 
the  Bun  ium  bulbocastanum,  usually  supposed  to  be  the  bunion  of  Dios- 
corides, is  a  stranger  to  Greece. 

55  These  properties,  Fee  says,  are  not  to  be  found  in  the  Bunium  bulbo- 
castanum of  modern  botanists. 

56  Sillig  is  of  opinion  that  there  is  an  hiatus  here  in  the  text,  and  that 
the  meaning  is  that  a  drachma  of  the  juice  is  taken  with  something  else  : 
honey  possibly,  he  suggests. 

57  The  Brassica  napo-brassica  of  Linna3iis.  58  See  B.  xix  c.  26. 
5D  The  Cochlearia  Armoracia  of  Linnseus.             6°  In  B.  xix.  c.  26. 

61  Fee  says  that  the  medicinal  properties  recognized  by  the  moderns  in 


radishes  themselves,  chewed,  is  useful  for  pains  in  the  sides.63 
A  decoction  of  the  leaves,  taken  in  drink,  or  else  the  juice 
of  the  plant  taken  in  doses  of  two  cyathi,  is  an  excellent  remedy 
for  phthiriasis.  Pounded  radishes,  too,  are  employed  as  a  lini- 
ment for  inflammations  w  under  the  skin,  and  the  rind,  mixed 
with  honey,  for  bruises  of  recent  date.  Lethargic  persons M 
are  recommended  to  eat  them  as  hot  as  possible,  and  the  seed, 
parched  and  then  pounded  with  honey,  will  give  relief  to 
asthmatic  patients. 

Radishes,  too,  are  useful  as  a  remedy  for  poisons,  and  are 
employed  to  counteract  the  effects  of  the  sting  of  the  cerastes65 
and  the  scorpion  :  indeed,  after  having  rubbed  the  hands  with 
radishes  or  radish-seed,  we  may  handle 66  those  reptiles  with 
impunity.  If  a  radish  is  placed  upon  a  scorpion,  it  will  cause 
its  death.  Radishes  are  useful,  too,  in  cases  of  poisoning  by 
fungi 67  or  henbane  ;  and  according  to  Nicander,68  they  are  sa- 
lutary against  the  effects  of  bullock's  blood,69  when  drunk. 
The  two  physicians  of  the  name  of  Apollodorus,  prescribe 
radishes  to  be  given  in  cases  of  poisoning  by  mistletoe ;  but 
whereas  Apollodorus  of  Citium  recommends  radish-seed  pounded 
in  water,  Apollodorus  of  Tarentum  speaks  of  the  juice. 
Radishes  diminish  the  volume  of  the  spleen,  and  are  beneficial 
for  maladies  of  the  liver  and  pains  in  the  loins :  taken,  too, 
with  vinegar  or  mustard,  they  are  good  for  dropsy  and  lethargy, 

the  several  varieties  of  the  Raphanus  sativus  are,  that  their  action  is  slightly 
stimulating  when  eaten  raw,  and  that  boiled  and  eaten  with  sugar  they 
are  soothing,  and  act  as  a  pectoral. 

62  "  Lagonoponon."     Nearly  all  these  asserted  virtues  of  the  radish, 
Fee  says,  are  illusory. 

63  "  Phlegmoni."     Stagnation  of  the  blood,  with  heat,  redness,  swell- 
ing, and  pain. 

64  "Veternosi."     Fee  says  that,  rigorously  speaking,   "veterans"'   was 
that  state  of  somnolency  which  is  the  prelude  to  apoplexy. 

65  The  Coluber  cerastes  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  viii.  c.  35. 

66  Poinsinet  warns  us  not  to  place  too  implicit  faith  in  this  assertion. 

67  Dioscorides  says  the  same,  but  the  assertion  is  quite  destitute  of  truth. 

68  Nicander,  in  his  "  Alexipharmaca,"  11.  430  and  527.  says  that  the  cab- 
bage, not  the  radish,  is  good  for  poisoning  by  fungi  and  henbane ;  and  in 
1.  300  he  states  that  the  cabbage  is  similarly  beneficial  against  the  effects 
of  bullock's  blood.     Pliny  has  probably  fallen  into  the  error  by  confound- 
ing 'ptubdvog,  the  "  cabbage,"  with  '(oa^dvig,  the  "  radish.'7 

69  Themistocles  is  said  to  have  killed  himself  by  taking  hot  bullock's 
blood.   It  is,  however,  very  doubtful. 

Chap.  13.]  THE   CULTIVATED   BADISH.  217 

as  well  as  epilepsy 70  and  melancholy.71  Praxagoras  recom- 
mends that  radishes  should  be  given  for  the  iliac  passion,  and 
Plistonicus  for  the  coeliac 72  disease. 

Radishes  are  good,  too,  for  curing  ulcerations  of  the  in- 
testines and  suppurations  of  the  thoracic  organs,73  if  eaten 
with  honey.  Some  persons  say,  however,  that  for  this  pur- 
pose they  should  be  boiled  in  earth  and  water ;  a  decoction 
which,  according  to  them,  promotes  the  menstrual  discharge. 
Taken  with  vinegar  or  honey,  radishes  expel  worms  from  the 
intestines  ;  and  a  decoction  of  them  boiled  down  to  one-third, 
taken  in  wine,  is  good  for  intestinal  hernia.74  Employed 
in  this  way,  too,  they  have  the  effect  of  drawing  off  the  super- 
fluous blood.  Medius  recommends  them  to  be  given  boiled  to 
persons  troubled  with  spitting  of  blood,  and  to  women  who  are 
suckling,  for  the  purpose  of  increasing  the  milk.  Hippocrates75 
recommends  females  whose  hair  falls  off,  to  rub  the  head  with 
radishes,  and  he  says  that  for  pains  of  the  uterus,  they  should 
be  applied  to  the  navel. 

Radishes  have  the  effect,  too,  of  restoring  the  skin,  when 
scarred,  to  its  proper  colour ;  and  the  seed,  steeped  in  water, 
and  applied  topically,  arrests  the  progress  of  ulcers  known  as 
phagedsenic.76  Democritus  regards  them,  taken  with  the  food, 
as  an  aphrodisiac  ;  and  it  is  for  this  reason,  perhaps,  that  some 
persons  have  spoken  of  them  as  being  injurious  to  the  voice. 
The  leaves,  but  only  those  of  the  long  radish,  are  said  to  have 
the  effect  of  improving  the  eye-sight. 

When  radishes,  employed  as  a  remedy,  act  too  powerfully, 
it  is  recommended  that  hyssop  should  be  given  immediately  ; 
there  being  an  antipathy 77  between  these  two  plants.  For 

70  «  Morbus  comitialis'' — literally  the  "  comitial  disease."  Epilepsy  it  is 
said,  was  so  called  because,  if  any  person  was  seized  with  it  at  the  **  Co- 
raitia,,"  or  public  assemblies  of  the  Roman  people,  it  was  the  custom  to 
adjourn  the  meeting  to  another  day. 

71  From  /i£\ac,    "black,"  and    xo\^,  "  bile."     Melancholy,  or  bad 
spirits,  was  so  called  from  a  notion  that  it  was  owing  to  a  predominance  of 
an  imaginary  secretion  called  by  the  ancients  "  black  bile." 

72  The  coeliac  flux,  Fee  says,  is  symptomatic  of  chronic  enteritis  ;   and 
is  a  species  of  diarrhoea,  in  which  the  chyme  is  voided  without  undergoing 
any  change  in  passing  through  the  intestines. 

73  "Praecordiorum."  74  "  Enterocele." 
75  De  Morb.  Mulier.  B.  ii.  c.  67. 

6  Eating  or  corroding  ulcers. 

J1  Hippocrates,  De  Diaeta,  B.  ii.  cc.  25,  26,  says  that  radishes  are  of  a 
cold,  ana  hyssop  of  a  warm,  nature. 


dulness  of  hearing,  too,  radish-juice  is  injected  into  the  ear. 
To  promote  vomiting,  it  is  extremely  beneficial  to  eat  radishes 



The  hibiscum,  by  some  persons  known  as  the  wild  mallow,78 
and  by  others  as  the  "  plistolochia,"  bears  a  strong  resemblance 
to  the  parsnip  ;79  it  is  good  for  ulcerations  of  the  cartilages,  and 
is  employed  for  the  cure  of  fractured  bones.  The  leaves  of  it, 
taken  in  water,  relax  the  stomach ;  they  have  the  eifect,  also, 
of  keeping  away  serpents,  and,  employed  as  a  liniment,  are  a 
cure  for  the  stings  of  bees,  wasps,  and  hornets.  The  root, 
pulled  up  before  sunrise,  and  wrapped  in  wool  of  the  colour 
known  as  "  native,"80  taken  from  a  sheep  which  has  just 
dropped  a  ewe  lamb,  is  employed  as  a  bandage  for  scrofulous 
swellings,  even  after  they  have  suppurated.  Some  persons 
are  of  opinion,  that  for  this  purpose  the  root  should  be  dug 
up  with  an  implement  of  gold,  and  that  care  should  be  taken 
not  to  let  it  touch  the  ground. 

Celsus,81  too,  recommends  this  root  to  be  boiled  in  wine,  and 
applied  in  cases  of  gout  unattended  with  swelling. 

CHAP.    15.   (5.) — THE    STAPHYLINOS,  OR  WILD    PARSNIP  I    TWENTY- 

The  staphylinos,  or,  as  some  persons  call  it,  "erratic8" 
parsnip,"  is  another  kind.  The  seed 83  of  this  plant,  pounded  and 
taken  in  wine,  reduces  swelling  of  the  abdomen,  and  alleviates 
hysterical  suffocations  and  pains,  to  such  a  degree  as  to  restore 
the  uterus  to  its  natural  condition.  Used  as  a  liniment,  also,  with 
raisin  wine,  it  is  good  for  pains  of  the  bowels  in  females ;  for 
men,  too,  beaten  up  with  an  equal  proportion  of  bread,  and 
taken  in  wine,  it  may  be  found  beneficial  for  similar  pains.  It 

78  "  Moloche  agria."  79  See  B.  xix.  c.  27. 

80  See  B.  viii.  c.  73. 

81  De  Remed.  B.  iv.  c.  24.     The  parsnip  is  a  stimulating  plant,  and  it 
is  not  without  reason,  Fee  says,  that  Celsus  recommends  it  for  this  pur- 
pose. 82  Or  "  wild."     See  B.  xix.  c.  27. 

83  This  seed,  Fee  says,  is  an  energetic  excitant,  and  certainly  would  not 
be  found  suitable  for  any  of  the  purposes  here  mentioned  by  Pliny ;  though 
equally  recommended  for  them  by  Galen,  Dioscorides,  and  in  Athenaeus. 

Chap.  16.]  GINGIDION".  219 

is  a  diuretic  also,  and  it  will  arrest  the  progress  of  phagedaenic 
ulcers,  if  applied  fresh  with  honey,  or  else  dried  and  sprinkled 
on  them  with  meal. 

Dietiches  recommends  the  root  of  it  to  be  given,  with  hy- 
dromel,  for  affections  of  the  liver  and  spleen,  as  also  the  sides, 
loins,  and  kidneys ;  and  Cleophantus  prescribes  it  for  dysen- 
tery of  long  standing.  Philistio  says  that  it  should  be  boiled 
in  milk,  and  for  strangury  he  prescribes  four  ounces  of  the 
root.  Taken  in  water,  he  recommends  it  for  dropsy,  as  well 
as  in  cases  of  opisthotony,84  pleurisy,  and  epilepsy.  Persons, 
it  is  said,  who  carry  this  plant  about  them,  will  never  be  stung 
by  serpents,  and  those  who  have  just  eaten  of  it  will  receive 
no  hurt  from  them.  Mixed  with  axle-grease,85  it  is  applied 
to  parts  of  the  body  stung  by  reptiles ;  and  the  leaves  of  it  are 
eaten  as  a  remedy  for  indigestion. 

Orpheus  has  stated  that  the  staphylinos  acts  as  a  philtre,86 
most  probably  because,  a  very-well-established  fact,  when 
employed  as  a  food,  it  is  an  aphrodisiac  ;  a  circumstance  which 
has  led  some  persons  to  state  that  it  promotes  conception.  In 
other  respects  the  cultivated  parsnip  has  similar  properties ; 
though  the  wild  kind  is  more  powerful  in  its  operation,  and 
that  which  grows  in  stony  soils  more  particularly.  The  seed, 
too,  of  the  cultivated  parsnip,  taken  in  wine,  or  vinegar  and 
water,87  is  salutary  for  stings  inflicted  by  scorpions.  By 
rubbing  the  teeth  with  the  root  of  this  plant,  tooth-ache  is 

CHAP.   16. — GINGIDION  :    ONE    REMEDY. 

The  Syrians  devote  themselves  particularly  to  the  cultiva- 
tion of  the  garden,  a  circumstance  to  which  we  owe  the  Greek 
proverb,  "  There  is  plenty  of  vegetables  in  Syria."88 

84  Tetanus,  or  contraction  of  the  muscles,  in  which  the  head  is  twisted 
round  or  stretched  backwards. 

85  "Axungia;"  properly  swine's  grease,  with  which  the  axle- -trees  of 
chariots  were  rubbed.     See  B.  xxviii.  c.  9. 

86  Diphilus  of  Siphnos,  as  quoted  in  Athenseus,  B.  ix.  c.  3,  states  that 
the  ancients  employed  this  plant  as  a  philtre,  for  which  reason  it  was  called 
by  some  persons  QiXrpov. 

87  "  Posca."     This  was  the  ordinary  drink  of  the  lower  classes  at  Rome, 
as  also  the  soldiers  when  on  service,  and  the  slaves.     "  Oxycrate"  is  the 
scientific  name  sometimes  given  to  vinegar  and  water. 

89  [ToXXa  Supcuv  \d\ava.  Similar  to  our  proverb,  probably,  "  There 
is  more  corn  in  Egypt." 

220  PLINlV  NATUKAL   HISTORY.  [Book  XX. 

Among  other  vegetables,  tKat  country  produces  one  very 
similar  to  the  staphylinos,  and  known  to  some  persons  as 
"gingidion,"89  only  that  it  is  smaller  than  the  staphylinos  and 
more  bitter,  though  it  has  just  the  same  properties.  Eaten 
either  raw  or  boiled,  it  is  very  beneficial  to  the  stomach,  as  it 
entirely  absorbs  all  humours  with  which  it  may  happen  to  be 


The  wild90  skirret,  too,  is  very  similar  to  the  cultivated  kind,91 
and  is  productive  of  similar  effects.  It  sharpens92  the  stomach, 
and,  taken  with  vinegar  flavoured  with  silphium,  or  with 
pepper  and  hydromel,  or  else  with  garum,  it  promotes  the 
appetite.  According  to  Opion,  it  is  a  diuretic,  and  acts  as 
an  aphrodisiac.93  Diocles  is  also  of  the  same  opinion ;  in  ad- 
dition to  which,  he  says  that  it  possesses  cordial  virtues  for 
convalescents,  and  is  extremely  beneficial  after  frequent  vo- 

Heraclides  has  prescribed  it  against  the  effects  of  mercury,94 
and  for  occasional  impotence,  as  also  generally  for  patients 
when  convalescent.  Hicesius  says  that  skirrets  would  appear 
to  be  prejudicial95  to  the  stomach,  because  no  one  is  able  to  eat 
three  of  them  following  ;  still,  however,  he  looks  upon  them  as 
beneficial  to  patients  who  are  just  resuming  the  use  of  wine. 
The  juice  of  the  cultivated  skirret,  taken  in  goats' -milk,  arrests 
looseness  of  the  stomach. 

89  The  Caucus  visnaga  of  Linnaeus,  the  Daucus  gingidium  of  Sprengel, 
the  Visnagha,   or  Bisnagha  of  other  botanists.     It  is  also  known  as  the 
"wild  carrot,"  or  "French  carrot." 

90  Or  "  erratic."  91  See  B.  xix.  c.  28. 

92  The  root  and  seed,  Fee  observes,  really  are  stimulants  :  there  is  no 
perceptible  difference  between  the  wild  and  cultivated  plants.     For  sil- 
phium, see  B.  xix.  c.  15. 

93  Fee  thinks  that  it  may  be  so  in  a  slight  degree. 

94  Pliny  often  speaks  of  persons  having  swallowed  quicksilver,  but  never 
lets  us  know  under  what  circumstances.     As  Fee  remarks,  it  could  not  be 
accidentally  ;  nor  yet,  on  the  other  hand,  could  it  have  been  done  purposely, 
with  the  object  of  committing  suicide,  it  not  being  an  active  poison.     He 
concludes  that  it  must  have  been  taken  medicinally,  and  that  part  of  it 
becoming  absorbed  in  the  system,  other  remedies  were  resorted  to,  to  coun- 
teract its  noxious  effects. 

y5  "  Inutile,"  and  not  "utile,"  is  evidently  the  correct  reading  here. 

Chap.  18.]  BILE,    OB   IIARTWORT.  221 


As  the  similitude  which  exists  between  their  Greek  names96 
has  caused  most  persons  to  mistake  the  one  for  the  other,  we 
have  thought  it  as  well  to  give  some  account  here  of  sile  or 
hartwort,97  though  it  is  a  plant  which  is  very  generally  known. 
The  best  hartwort  is  that  of  Massilia,98  the  seed  of  it  being 
broad  and  yellow  ;  and  the  next  best  is  that  of  ^Ethiopia,  the 
seed  of  which  is  of  a  darker  hue.  The  Cretan  hartwort  is  the 
most  odoriferous  of  the  several  kinds.  The  root  of  this  plant  has 
a  pleasant  smell ;  the  seed  of  it  is  eaten  by  vultures,  it  is  said.99 
Hartwort  is  useful  to  man  for  inveterate  coughs,  ruptures,  and 
convulsions,  being  usually  taken  in  white  wine ;  it  is  employed 
also  in*  cases  of  opisthotony,  and  for  diseases  of  the  liver,  as 
well  as  for  griping  pains  in  the  bowels  and  for  strangury,  in 
doses  of  two  or  three  spoonfuls  at  a  time. 

The  leaves  of  this  plant  are  useful  also,  and  have  the  effect 
of  aiding  parturition — in  animals  even :  indeed,  it  is  generally 
said  that  roes,1  when  about  to  bring  forth,  are  in  the  habit  of 
eating  these  leaves  in  particular.  They  are  topically  applied, 
also,  in  erysipelas ;  and  either  the  leaves  or  the  seed,  taken  fast- 
ing in  the  morning,  are  very  beneficial  to  the  digestion.  Hart- 
wort  has  the  effect,  too,  of  arresting  looseness  in  cattle,  either 
bruised  and  put  into  their  drink,  or  else  eaten  by  them  after  it 
has  been  chewed  with  salt.  When  oxen  are  in  a  diseased  state, 
it  is  beaten  up  and  poured  into  their  food. 

96  Ztaapov,  the  "  skirret,"  and  2«<r*Xc,  SsXi,  or  2iXt,  "hart-wort." 

97  The  Seseli  tortuosum  of  Linnaeus. 

98  Or  Marseilles  :  the  Seseli  tortuosum.     Fee  says  that  there  is  great 
confusion  relative  to  the  supposed  varieties  of  this  plant.     The  Bupleurum 
truticosum,  or  Seseli  of  Ethiopia,  has  leaves  smaller  than  those  of  ivy, 
and  resembling  the  leaves  of  honeysuckle.     That  of  Peloponnesus,   the 
Ligusticum  austriacum,  has  a  leaf  similar  to  that  of  hemlock,  but  larger 
and  thicker ;  and  the  Seseli  of  Crete,  some  species  of  the  genus  Tordy- 
lium,  is  a  small  plant  which  throws  out  shoots  in  large  quantities.     All 
these,  he  says,  are  so  far  different  plants,  that  it  is  quite  impossible  to 
unite  them  with  any  degree  of  certainty  under  one  concordance.     Indeed, 
he  thinks  it  very  possible  that  they  do  not  all  belong  to  the  genus  Seseli  of 
modern  botanists. 

99  It  is  clear  that  Pliny  hesitates  to  believe  this  story,  and  it  is  hardly 
necessary  to  remark  how  utterly  foreign  this  is  to  the  habits  of  carnivorous 

1  See  B.  viii.  c.  50.    An  absurd  story. 



Elecampane,2  too,  chewed  fasting,  has  the  effect  of  strength- 
ening the  teeth,  if,  from  the  moment  that  it  is  plucked,  it  is 
not  allowed  to  touch  the  ground  :  a  confection  of  it  is  a  cure 
for  cough.  The  juice  of  the  root  boiled  is  an  expellent  of  in- 
testinal tapeworm;  and  dried  in  the  shade  and  reduced  to 
powder,  the  root3  is  curative  in  cases  of  cough,  convulsions, 
flatulency,  and  affections  of  the  trachea.  It  is  useful  too,  for 
the  bites  of  venomous  animals ;  and  the  leaves  steeped  in  wine 
•  are  applied  topically  for  pains  in  the  loins. 


There  are  no  such  things  in  existence  as  wild  onions.  The 
cultivated  onion  is  employed  for  the  cure  of  dimness4  of  sight, 
the  patient  being  made  to  smell  at  it  till  tears  come  into  the 
eyes  :  it  is  still  better  even  if  the  eyes  are  rubbed  with  the 
juice.  It  is  said,  too,  that  onions  are  soporific,5  and  that  they 
are  a  cure  for  ulcerations  of  the  mouth,  if  chewed  with  bread. 
Fresh  onions  in  vinegar,  applied  topically,  or  dried  onions  with 
wine  and  honey,  are  good  for  the  bites  of  dogs,  care  being 
taken  not  to  remove  the  bandage  till  the  end  of  a  couple  of 
days.  Applied,  too,  in  the  same  way,  they  are  good  for  heal- 
ing excoriations.  E-oasted  in  hot  ashes,  many  persons  have 
applied  them  topically,  with  barley  meal,  for  defluxions  of  the 
eyes  and  ulcerations  of  the  genitals.  The  juice,  too,  is  em- 
ployed as  an  ointment  for  sores  of  the  eyes,  albugo,6  and 
argema.7  Mixed  with  honey,  it  is  used  as  a  liniment  for  the 
stings8  of  serpents,  and  all  kinds  of  ulcerous  sores.  In  com- 
bination with  woman's  milk,  it  is  employed  for  affections  of  the 
ears  ;  and  in  cases  of  singing  in  the  ears  and  hardness  of  hear- 
ing, it  is  injected  into  those  organs  with  goose-grease  or  honey. 

2  The  Iiiula  Helenium  of  botanists.     See  B.  xix.  c.  29. 

3  Modern  notions,  Fee  says,  do  not  agree  with  those  of  the  ancients  on 
the  subject  of  elecampane.     The  root  owes  the  energy  of  its  action  to  the 
camphor  winch  it  contains. 

4  This  notion  of  the  virtues  of  the  onion  is  quite  erroneous,  though  it 
still  prevails  to  a  considerable  degree.    Hippocrates,  however,  Dioscorides, 
and  Galen,  like  Pliny,  attribute  this  property  to  the  onion. 

5  This,  Fee  says,  is  not  the  fact. 

6  A  disease  of  the  eye,  by  which  the  cornea  contracts  a  whiteness. 

7  A  white  speck  within  the  black  of  the  eye. 

8  It  is  of  no  use  whatever  for  such  a  purpose. 

Chap.  21.]  CUTLEEK.  223 

In  cases  where  persons  have  been  suddenly  struck  dumb,  it 
lias  been  administered  to  them  to  drink,  mixed  with  water. 
In  cases,  too,  of  toothache,  it  is  sometimes  introduced  into 
the  mouth  as  a  gargle  for  the  teeth ;  it  is  an  excellent 
remedy  also  for  all  kinds  of  wounds  made  by  animals,  scorpions 
more  particularly.  / 

In  cases  of  alopecy9  and  itch-scab,  bruised  onions  are  rubbed 
on  the  parts  affected :  they  are  also  given  boiled  to  persons 
afflicted  with  dysentery  or  lumbago.  Onion  peelings,  burnt  to 
ashes  and  mixed  with  vinegar,  are  employed  topically  for  stings 
of  serpents  and  multipedes.10 

In  other  respects,  there  are  remarkable  differences  of  opi- 
nion among  medical  men.  The  more  modern  writers  have 
stated  that  onions  are  good  for  the  thoracic  organs  and  the 
digestion,  but  that  they  are  productive  of  flatulency  and  thirst. 
The  school  of  Asclepiades  maintains  that,  used  as  an  aliment, 
onions  impart  a  florid11  colour  to  the  complexion,  and  that, 
taken  fasting  every  day,  they  are  promoters  of  robustness  and 
health  ;  that  as  a  diet,  too,  they  are  good  for  the  stomach  by 
acting  upon  the  spirits,  and  have  the  effect  of  relaxing  the 
bowels.  He  says,  too,  that,  employed  as  a  suppository, 
onions  disperse  piles,  and  that  the  juice  of  them,  taken  in 
combination  with  juice  of  fennel,  is  wonderfully  beneficial  in 
cases  of  incipient  dropsy.  It  is  said,  too,  that  the  juice,  taken 
with  rue  and  honey,  is  good  for  quinsy,  and  has  the  effect  of 
dispelling  lethargy.12  Varro  assures  us  that  onions,  pounded 
with  salt  and  vinegar  and  then  dried,  will  never  be  attacked 
by  worms.13 

Cutleek14  has  the  effect  of  stanching  bleeding  at  the  nose, 

9  Fox  evil,  or  scurf,  or  scaldhead :  a  disease  which  causes  the  hair  to 
fall  off  the  body.     It  derives  its  name   from  the  Greek  riXwTriy^,  a  "  fox," 
from  the  circumstance  that  they  were  supposed  to  be  peculiarly  affected 
with  a  similar  disease. 

10  Or  millepedes.     See  c.  6  of  this  Book. 

11  So  the  school  of  Salerno  says — 

Non  modicum  sanas  Asclepius  asserit  illas, 
Prasertim  stomacho,  pulchrumque  creare  colorem. 

12  This  is  not  the  case. 

13  "  Vermiculis."     Small  worms  or  maggots. 

14  "  Porrum  sectivum,"     See  B.  xix.  c.  33. 


the  nostrils  being  plugged  with  the  plant,  pounded,  or  else 
mixed  with  nut-galls  or  mint.  The  juice  of  it,  taken  with 
woman's  milk,  arrests  floodings  after  a  miscarriage  ;  and  it  is 
remedial  in  cases  even  of  inveterate  cough,  and  of  affections 
of  the  chest15  and  lungs.  The  leaves,  applied  topically,  are 
employed  for  the  cure  of  pimples,  burns,  and  epinyctis 16 — 
this  last  being  the  name  given  to  an  ulcer,  known  also  as 
"  syce," 17  situate  in  the  corner  of  the  eye,  from  which  there 
is  a  continual  running  :  some  persons,  however,  give  this 
name  to  livid  pustules,  which  cause  great  restlessness  in  the 
night.  Other  kinds  of  ulcers,  too,  are  treated  with  leeks 
beaten  up  with  honey :  used  with  vinegar,  they  are  exten- 
sively employed  also  for  the  bites  of  wild  beasts,  as  well  as 
of  serpents  and  other  venomous  creatures.  Mixed  with  goats' 
gall,  or  else  honied  wine  in  equal  proportions,  they  are  used 
for  affections  of  the  ears,  and,  combined  with  woman's  milk, 
for  singing  in  the  ears.  In  cases  of  head-ache,  the  juice  is 
injected  into  the  nostrils,  or  else  into  the  ear  at  bed-time, 
two  spoonfuls  of  juice  to  one  of  honey. 

This  juice  is  taken  too  with  pure  wine,18  for  the  stings  of 
serpents  and  scorpions,  and,  mixed  with  a  semi-sextarius  of 
wine,  for  lumbago.  The  juice,  or  the  leek  itself,  eaten  as  a 
food,  is  very  beneficial  to  persons  troubled  with  spitting  of 
blood,  phthisis,  or  inveterate  catarrhs ;  in  cases  also  of  jaun- 
dice or  dropsy,  and  for  nephretic  pains,  it  is  taken  in  barley- 
water,  in  doses  of  one  acetabulum  of  juice.  The  same  dose, 
too,  mixed  with  honey,  effectually  purges  the  uterus.  Leeks 
are  eaten,  too,  in  cases  of  poisoning  by  fungi,19  and  are  applied 
topically  to  wounds :  they  act  also  as  an  aphrodisiac,20  allay 
thirst,  and  dispel  the  effects  of  drunkenness  ;  but  they 
have  the  effect  of  weakening  the  sight  and  causing  flatulency, 
it  is  said,  though,  at  the  same  time,  they  are  not  injurious  to 

15  Fee  thinks  that  boiled  leeks  may  possibly,  with  some  justice,  be 
ranked  among  the  pectorals. 

16  This,  as  Pliny  himself  here  remarks,  is  a  different  disease  from  that 
previously  mentioned  in  c.  6  of  this  Book. 

17  From  the  Greek  <rwc»},  "  a  fig." 

18  "Merum." 

19  They  would  be  of  no  utility  whatever. 

20  This  is  an  unfounded  statement,  Fee  says. 

SAUL  ic.  225 

the  stomach,  and  act  as  an  aperient.     Leeks  impart  a  remark- 
able clearness  to  the  voice.21 


Bulbed  leek22  produces  the  same  effects  as  cut-leek,23  but  in 
a  more  powerful  degree.  To  persons  troubled  with  spitting 
of  blood,  the  juice  of  it  is  given,  with  powdered  nut-galls21 
or  frankincense,  or  else  gum  acacia.25  Hippocrates,26  however, 
prescribes  it  without  being  mixed  with  anything  else,  and 
expressed  himself  of  opinion  that  it  has  the  property  of  opening 
the  uterus  when  contracted,  and  that  taken  as  an  aliment  by 
females,  it  is  a  great  promoter  of  fecundity.  Beaten  up  and 
mixed  with  honey,  it  cleanses  ulcerous  sores.  It  is  good  for 
the  cure  of  coughs,  catarrhs,  and  all  affections  of  the  lungs 
and  of  the  trachea,  whether  given  in  the  form  of  a  ptisan,  or 
eaten  raw,  the  head  excepted  :  it  must  be  taken,  however,  with- 
out bread,  and  upon  alternate  days,  and  this  even  if  there 
should  be  purulent  expectorations. 

Taken  in  this  form,  it  greatly  improves  the  voice,  and  acts 
as  an  aphrodisiac,  and  as  a  promoter  of  sleep.  The  heads,  boiled 
in  a  couple  of  waters,  arrest  looseness  of  the  bowels,  and 
fluxes  of  long  standing  ;  and  a  decoction  of  the  outer  coat  acts 
as  a  dye  upon  grey  hair.27 


Garlic28  has  very  powerful29  properties,  and  is  of  great 
utility  to  persons  on  changes  of  water  or  locality.  The  very 
smell  of  it  drives  away  serpents  and  scorpions,  and,  according 
to  what  some  persons  say,  it  is  a  cure  for  wounds  made  by 

21  See  B.  xix.  c.  33.  Aristotle,  Sotion,  and  Dioscorides  state  to  the 
same  effect. 

23  "  Porrum  capitatum." 

23  There  is  no  difference  now  recognized  between  these  two  kinds  or 
leeks,  so  far  as  their  medicinal  effects  are  concerned. 

*4  See  B.  xvi.  c.  9. 

25  /.  e.  gum  arabic.    For  an  account  of  the  Acacia  Nilotica,  see  B.  xm. 
c.  19. 

26  De  Morb.  Mul.  B  ii.  c.  89,  and  De  Steril.  c.  13. 

v  This  is  not  the  fact.  m  See  B.  xix.  c.  34. 

29  Fee  says  that  the  action  of  garlic  is  so  powerful,  that  it  is  one  of  the 
most  energetic  vermifuges  known ;  but  at  the  same  time  it  is  so  strong  an 
excitant,  that  it  is  very  liable  to  cause  worse  evils  than  the  presence  even 
of  worms. 

VOL.  IV.  Q 


every  kind  of  wild  beast,  whether  taken  with  the  drink  br  food, 
or  applied  topically.  Taken  in  wine,  it  is  a  remedy  for  the 
sting  of  the  haBmorrhois30  more  particularly,  acting  as  an 
emetic.  We  shall  not  be  surprised  too,  that  it  acts  as  a  pow- 
erful remedy  for  the  bite  of  the  shrew-mouse,  when  we  find 
that  it  has  the  property  of  neutralizing  aconite,  otherwise 
known  as  "pardalianches."31  It  neutralizes  henbane,  also, 
mid  cures  the  bites  of  dogs,  when  applied  with  honey  to  the 
wound.  It  is  taken  in  drink  also  for  the  stings  of  serpents  ; 
and  of  its  leaves,  mixed  with  oil,  a  most  valuable  liniment  is 
made  for  bruises  on  the  body,  even  when  they  have  swelled 
and  formed  blisters. 

Hippocrates32  is  of  opinion  also,  that  fumigations  made  with 
garlic  have  the  effect  of  bringing  away  the  after-birth;  and 
he  used  to  employ  the  ashes  of  garlic,  mixed  with  oil,  for  the 
cure  of  running  ulcers  of  the  head.  Some  persons  have  pre- 
scribed boiled  garlic  for  asthmatic  patients  ;  while  others, 
again,  have  given  it  raw.  Diocles  prescribes  it,  in  combina- 
tion with  centaury,  for  dropsy,  and  to  be  taken  in  a  split  fig, 
to  promote  the  alvine  evacuations  :  taken  fresh,  however,  in 
unmixed  wine,  with  coriander,  it  is  still  more  efficacious  for 
that  purpose.  Some  persons  have  given  it,  beaten  up  in 
milk,  for  asthma.  Praxagoras  used  to  prescribe  garlic,  mixed 
with  wine,  for  jaundice,  and  with  oil  and  pottage  for  the  iliac 
passion :  he  employed  it  also  in  a  similar  form,  as  a  liniment 
for  scrofulous  swellings  of  the  neck. 

The  ancients  used  to  give  raw  garlic  in  cases  of  madness, 
and  Diocles  administered  it  boiled  for  phrenitis.  Beaten  up, 
-  and  taken  in  vinegar  and  water,  it  is  very  useful  as  a  gargle 
for  quinsy.  Three  heads  of  garlic,  beaten  up  in  vinegar,  give 
relief  in  toothache  :  and  a  similar  result  is  obtained  by  rinsing 
the  mouth  with  a  decoction  of  garlic,  and  inserting  pieces  of 
it  in  the  hollow  teeth.  Juice  of  garlic  is  sometimes  injected 
into  the  ears  with  goose-grease,32*  and,  taken  in  drink,  or  sinii- 

30  This  serpent  is  described  by  Lucan,  in  the  "  Pharsalia,"  B.  ix.  1.  708, 
ei  seq.,  where  a  fearful  account  is  given  of  the  effects  of  its  sting1.    Nicander, 
in  his  "  Theriaca,v  informs  us  that  those  bitten  by  the  haemorrhoi's  d-: 
with  the  blood  flowing  from  the  nose  and  ears,  whence  its  name. 

31  Pard  or  panther-strangle.     See  B.  xxvii.  c.  2.     The  juice  of  garlic 
has  no  such  effect  as  here  stated. 

32  De  Morb.  Mul.  B.  i.  c.  74.  82*  See  B.  xxix,  c.  39. 

Chap.  23.]  GARLIC.  227 

larly  injected,  in  combination  with  vinegar  and  nitre,  it  arrests 
phthiriasis33  and  porrigo.34  Boiled  with  milk,  or  else  beaten 
up  and  mixed  with  soft  cheese,  it  is  a  cure  for  catarrhs.  Em- 
ployed in  a  similar  manner,  and  taken  with  pease  or  beans,  it 
is  good  for  hoarseness,  but  in  general  it  is  found  to  be  more 
serviceable  cooked  than  raw,  and  boiled  than  roasted  :  in  this 
last  state,  however,  it  is  more  beneficial  to  the  voice.  Boiled  in 
oxymel,  it  has  the  effect  of  expelling  tape-worm  and  other 
intestinal  worms  ;  and  a  pottage  made  of  it  is  a  cure  for  te- 
nesmus.  A  decoction  of  garlic  is  applied  topically  for  pains 
ia  the  temples ;  and  first  boiled  and  then  beaten  up  with 
honey,  it  is  good  for  blisters.  A  decoction  of  it,  with  stale 
grease,  or  milk,  is  excellent  for  a  cough ;  and  where  per- 
sons are  troubled  with  spitting  of  blood  or  purulent  matter, 
it  may  be  roasted  in  hot  ashes,  and  taken  with  honey  in 
equal  proportions.  For  convulsions  and  ruptures  it  is  admi- 
nistered in  combination  with  salt  and  oil ;  and,  mixed  with 
grease,  it  is  employed  for  the  cure  of  suspected  tumours. 

Mixed  with  sulphur  and  resin,  garlic  draws  out  the  humours 
from  fistulous  sores,  and  employed  with  pitch,  it  will  extract  an 
arrow  even35  from  the  wound.  In  cases  of  leprosy,  lichen,  and 
eruptions  of  the  skin,  it  acts  as  a  detergent,  and  effects  a  cure, 
in  combination  with  wild  marjoram,  or  else  reduced  to  ashes, 
and  applied  'as  a  liniment  with  oil  and  garum.38  It  is  em- 
ployed in  a  similar  manner,  too,  for  erysipelas ;  and,  reduced 
to  ashes,  and  mixed  with  honey,  it  restores  contused  or  livid 
spots  on  the  skin  to  their  proper  colour.  It  is  generally  be- 
lieved, too,  that  taken  in  the  food  and  drink,  garlic  is  a  cure 
for  epilepsy,  and  that  a  clove  of  it,  taken  in  astringent  wine, 
with  an  obolus'  weight  of  silphium,37  will  have  the  effect  of 
dispelling  quartan  fever.  Garlic  cures  coughs  also,  and  sup- 

83  The  Morbus  pedicularis.  From  the  frequent  mention  of  it,  Fee  says, 
it  would  seem  to  have  been  very  prevalent  in  ancient  times ;  whereas  now, 
it  is  but  rarely  known. 

34  A  disease  of  the  skin ;  supposed  by  some  to  be  the  same  as  ring  - 
worm.  The  word  is  employed  in  modern  medicine  to  signify  skin  dis- 
eases in  general,  such  as  itch,  lichen,  scaldhead,  ringworm,  &c. 

33  Pintianus  suggests  "  hirudines,"  "leeches,"  and  not  ''arundines,'* 
arrows.  The  latter  reading  is  supported,  however,  by  Plinius  Valeriaiius 
and  M.  Empiricus. 

36  An  expensive  kind  of  fish-sauce  :  for  some  further  account  of  it  see 
B.  ix.  c.  30.  *7  See  13.  xix.  c.  15. 

Q  2 


purations  of  the  chest,  however  violent  they  may  be ;  to  ob- 
tain which  result,  another  method  is  followed,  it  being 
boiled  with  broken  beans,  and  employed  as  a  diet  till  the 
cure  is  fully  effected.  It  is  a  soporific  also,  and  in  general 
imparts  to  the  body  an  additional  ruddiness  of  colour. 

Garlic  acts  as  an  aphrodisiac,  beaten  up  with  fresh  cori- 
ander, and  taken  in  pure  wine.  The  inconveniences  which 
result  from  the  use  of  it,  are  dimness  of  the  sight  and  flatu- 
lency ;  and  if  taken  in  too  large  quantities,  it  does  injury  to 
the  stomach,  and  creates  thirst.  In  addition  to  these  parti- 
culars, mixed  with  spelt  flour,  and  given  to  poultry  in  their 
food,  it  preserves  them  from  attacks  of  the  pip.38  Beasts  of 
burden,  it  is  said,  will  void  their  urine  all  the  more  easily, 
and  without  any  pain,  if  the  genitals  are  rubbed  with  garlic. 

CHAP.    24. — THE   LETTUCE  :    FORTY-TWO    REMEDIES.       THE    GOAT- 

The  first  kind  of  lettuce  which  grows  spontaneously,  is  the 
one  that  is  generally  known  as  "  goat39-lettuce ;"  thrown  into 
the  sea,  this  vegetable  has  the  property  of  instantaneously  kill- 
ing all  the  fish  that  come  into  its  vicinity.  The  milky  juice 
of  this  lettuce,40  left  to  thicken  and  then  put  into  vinegar, 
is  given  in  doses  of  two  oboli,  with  the  addition  of  one  cyathus 
of  water,  to  patients  for  dropsy.  The  stalk  and  leaves,  bruised 
and  sprinkled  with  salt,  are  used  for  the  cure  of  wounds  of 
the  sinews.  Pounded  with  vinegar,  and  employed  as  a 
gargle  in  the  morning  twice  a  month,  they  act  as  a  preventive 
of  tooth- ache. 

CHAP.    25. — CMSA PON  :   ONE  REMEDY.     ISATT8  I    ONE  REMEDY.    THE 

There  is  a  second  kind  of  wild  lettuce,  known  by  the  Greeks 

38  See  B.  x.  c.  78.  39  "  Caprina."     See  B.  xxvi.  c.  39. 

40  Fee  is  of  opinion  that  this  in  reality  is  not  a  lettuce,  but  that  Pliny 
has  been  led,  by  the  milky  juice  which  it  contains,  to  that  conclusion.  In 
B.  xxvi.  c.  39,  he  calls  it  "tithymalum."  Hardouin  conjectures  it  to 
have  been  the  spurge,  or  Euphorbia  lathyris  of  Linnaeus,  the  juice  or 
which  is  a  violent  drastic  ;  and  Fee  is  of  opinion  that  it  must  have  been 
one  of  the  Euphorbiacese.  At  the  same  time,  he  says,  powerful  as  their 
properties  are,  we  cannot  believe  that  they  exercise  the  destructive  effects 
on  fish  here  stated. 

Chap.  26.]  HAWK-WEED.  22.9 

as  "  caesapon."41  The  leaves  of  this  lettuce,  applied  as  a  liniment 
with  polenta,42  are  used  for  the  cure  of  ulcerous  sores.  This 
plant  is  found  growing  in  the  fields.  A  third  kin  d,  again, 
grows  in  the  woods ;  the  name  given  to  it  is  "  isatis."43  The 
leaves  of  this  last,  heaten  up  and  applied  with  polenta,  are 
very  useful  for  the  cure  of  wounds.  A  fourth  kind  is  used  by 
dyers  of  wool ;  in  the  leaves  it  would  resemble  wild  lapa- 
thum,  were  it  not  that  they  are  more  numerous  and  darker. 
This  lettuce  has  the  property  of  stanching  blood,  and  of  heal- 
ing phagedaenic  sores  and  putrid  spreading  ulcers,  as  well  as 
tumours  before  suppuration.  Both  the  root  as  well  as  the  leaves 
are  good,  too,  for  erysipelas  ;  and  a  decoction  of  it  is  drunk  for 
affections  of  the  spleen.  Such  are  the  properties  peculiar  to 
each  of  these  varieties. 


The  properties  which  are  common  to  all  the  wild  varieties44 
are  whiteness,  a  stem  sometimes  as  much  as  a  cubit  in  length, 
and  a  roughness  upon  the  stalk  and  leaves.  Among  these  plants 
there  is  one  with  round,  short  leaves,  known  to  some  per- 
sons as  "  hieracion  ;"45  from  the  circumstance  that  the  hawk 
tears  it  open  and  sprinkles46  its  eyes  with  the  juice,  and  so  dis- 
pels any  dimness  of  sight  of  which  it  is  apprehensive.  The 
juice  of  all  these  plants  is  white,  and  in  its  properties  resem- 
bles that  of  the  poppy.47  It  is  collected  at  harvest-time,  by 

41  Fee  thinks  that  this  plant  may  be  looked  for  among  the  varieties  of 
the  Sonchus  or  the  Hieracium,  which  belong  to  the  same  family  as  the 

42  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 

43  Fee  thinks  that  this  is  the  Isatis  tinctoria  of  Linnoeus  in  a  wild  state, 
and  Littre  suggests  that  the  one  next  mentioned  is  the  same  plant,  culti- 
vated.    Fee  says,  however,  that  this  plant,  employed  in  dyeing  wool,  does 
not  contain  any  milky  juice,  a  fact  which  should  have  cautioned  Pliny 
against  classing  it  among  tho  Lactuoee. 

44  Of  the  lettuce,  evidently.     Fee  says,  who  would  recognise  a  lettuce, 
with  its  green  leaves,  and  smooth  stalk  and  leaves,  under  this  description  ? 
Still,  it  is  by  no  means  an  inaccurate  description  of  the  wild  lettuce. 

45  "  Hawk- weed,"  from  the  Greek  Upa£,  "  a  hawk."    Under  this  name 
are  included,  Fee  thinks,  the  varieties  of  the  genus  Crepis. 

46  Apuleius,  Metam.  c.  30,  says  this  of  the  eagle,  when  preparing  to 
soar  aloft. 

47  This  is  in  some  degree  true  of  the  juices  of  the  wild  lettuces,  in  a 
medicinal  point  of  view ;  but  it  must  be  remembered  that  he  has  enume- 
rated the  Isatis  among  them,  which  in  reality  has  no  milky  juice  at  all. 


making  incisions  in  the  stalk,  and  is  kept  in  new  earthen. 
vessels,  being  renowned  as  a  remedy  for  numerous  maladies.48 
Mixed  with  woman's  milk,  it  is  a  cure  for  all  diseases  of  the 
eyes,  such  as  argema  for  instance,  films  on  the  eyes,  scars  and 
inflammations49  of  all  kinds,  and  dimness  of  the  sight  more 
particularly.  It  is  applied  to  the  eyes,  too,  in  wool,  as  a  remedy 
for  defluxions  of  those  organs. 

This  juice  also  purges  the  bowels,  taken  in  doses  of  two  oboli 
in  vinegar  and  water.  Drunk  in  wine  it  is  a  cure  for  the 
stings  of  serpents,  and  the  leaves  and  stalk  of  the  plant  are 
pounded  and  taken  in  vinegar.  They  are  employed  also  as  a 
liniment  for  wounds,  the  sting  of  the  scorpion  more  particu- 
larly; combined,  too,  with  oil  and  vinegar,  they  are  similarly 
applied  for  the  bite  of  the  phalangiurn.60  They  have  the 
effect,  also,  of  neutralizing  other  poisons,  with  the  exception 
of  those  which  kill  by  suffocation  or  by  attacking  the  bladder, 
as  also  with  the  exception  of  white  lead.  Steeped  in  oxymel, 
they  are  applied  to  the  abdomen  for  the  purpose  of  drawing  out 
vicious  humours  of  the  intestines.  The  juice  is  found  good, 
also,  in  cases  of  retention  of  the  urine.  Crateuas  prescribes 
it  to  be  given  to  dropsical  patients,  in  doses  of  two  oboli,  with 
vinegar  and  one  cyathus  of  wine. 

Some  persons  collect  the  juice  of  the  cultivated  lettuce  as  well, 
but  it  is  not  so  efficacious51  as  the  other.  We  have  already  made 
mention,52  to  some  extent,  of  the  peculiar  properties  of  the 
cultivated  lettuce,  such  as  promoting  sleep,  allaying  the  sexual 
passions,  cooling  the  body  when  heated,  purging53  the  stomach, 
and  making  blood.  In  addition  to  these,  it  possesses  no  few 
properties  besides ;  for  it  has  the  effect  of  removing  flatulency, 
and  of  dispelling  eructations,  while  at  the  same  time  it  pro- 
motes the  digestion,  without  ever  being  indigestible  itself. 
Indeed,  there  is  no  article  of  diet  known  that  is  a  greater  sti- 
mulant to  the  appetite,  or  which  tends  in  a  greater  degree  to 

48  "  Lactuearium,"  or  the  inspissated  milky  juice  of  the  garden  lettuce, 
is  still  used  occasionally  as  a  substitute  for  opium,  having  slightly  anodyne 
properties ,  but,  as  Fee  remarks,  all  that  Pliny  says  here  of  its  effects  is 
erroneous.  49  "  Adustiones ;"  "  burns,"  perhaps. 

50  A  kind  of  sm'der.     See  B.  xi.  cc.  24,  28,  29. 

51  This  is  consistent  with  modern  experience,  as  to  the  medicinal  effects 
of  the  cultivated  plants  in  general.  52  In  B.  xix.  c.  38. 

5:5  The  lettuce  is  not  a  purgative,  nor  has  it  the  property  here  ascribed 
to  it,  of  making  blood. 

Chap.  26.1  HAWK  WEED.  231 

modify  it ;  it  being  the  extent,  either  way,  to  which  it  is  eaten 
that  promotes  these  opposite  results.  In  the  same  way,  too, 
lettuces  eaten  in  too  large  quantities  are  laxative,  but  taken  in 
moderation  they  are  binding.  They  have  the  effect,  also,  of 
attenuating  the  tough,  viscous,  phlegm,  and,  according  to  what 
some  persons  say,  of  sharpening  the  senses.  They  are  ex- 
tremely serviceable,  too,  to  debilitated  stomachs ;  for  which 
purpose  *  *54  oboli  of  sour  sauce55  is  added  to  them,  the  sharp- 
ness of  which  is  modified  by  the  application  of  sweet  wine,  to 
make  it  of  the  same  strength  as  vinegar-sauce.68  If,  again, 
the  phlegm  with  which  the  patient  is  troubled  is  extremely 
tough  and  viscous,  wine  of  squills  or  of  wormwood  is  em- 
ployed ;  and  if  there  is  any  cough  perceptible,  hyssop  wine 
is  mixed  as  well. 

Lettuces  are  given  with  wild  endive  for  cceliac  affections, 
and  for  obstructions  of  the  thoracic  organs.  White  lettuces,  too, 
are  prescribed  in  large  quantities  for  melancholy  and  affections 
of  the  bladder.  Praxagoras  recommends  them  for  dysentery. 
Lettuces  are  good,  also,  for  recent  burns,  before  blisters  have 
made  their  appearance  :  in  such  cases  they  are  applied  with 
salt.  They  arrest  spreading  ulcers,  being  applied  at  first  wi.h 
saltpetre,  and  afterwards  with  wine.  Beaten  up,  they  are 
applied  topically  for  erysipelas;  and  the  stalks,  beaten  up 
with  polenta,  and  applied  with  cold  w^ater,  are  soothing  for 
luxations  of  the  limbs  and  spasmodic  contractions ;  used,  too, 
with  wine  and  polenta,  they  are  good  for  pimples  and  erup- 
tions. Eor  cholera  lettuces  have  been  given,  cooked  in  the 
saucepan,  in  which  case  it  is  those  with  the  largest  stalk 
and  bitter  that  are  the  best:  some  persons  administer  them, 
also,  as  an  injection,  in  milk.  These  stalks  boiled,  are  re- 
markably good,  it  is  said,  for  the  stomach :  the  summer  let- 
tuce, too,  more  particularly,  and  the  bitter,  milky  lettuce,  of 
which  we  have  already57  made  mention  as  the  "  meconis," 
have  a  soporific  effect.  This  juice,  in  combination  with 
woman's  milk,  is  said  to  be  extremely  beneficial  to  the  eye- 
sight, if  applied  to  the  head  in  good  time;  it  is  a  remedy, 

w  Sillig  is  probably  correct  in  his  belief  that  there  is  a  lacuna  here. 

55  «  Qxypori."  M  "  Ad  intinctura  aceti." 

57  In  B.  xix.  c.  38;  the  "opium"  or  "  poppy  lettuce,"   the   Lactuca 

silvestris  of  modern  botany,  the  soporific  properties  of  which  are  superior 

to  those  of  the  cultivated  kinds. 


too,  for  such  maladies  of  the  eyes  as  result  from  the  action  of 

I  find  other  marvellous  praises  lavished  upon  the  lettuce, 
such,  for  instance,  as  that,  mixed  with  Attic  honey,  it  is  no 
less  beneficial  for  affections  of  the  chest  than  abrotonum  i88 
that  the  menstrual  discharge  is  promoted  in  females  by  using 
it  as  a  diet ;  that  the  seed,  too,  of  the  cultivated  lettuce  is 
administered  as  a  remedy  for  the  stings  of  scorpions,  and 
that  pounded,  and  taken  in  wine,  it  arrests  all  libidinous 
dreams  and  imaginations  during  sleep ;  that  water,  too,  which 
affects59  the  brain  will  have  no  injurious  effects  upon  those  who 
eat  lettuce.  Some  persons  have  stated,  however,  that  if  let- 
tuces are  eaten  too  frequently  they  will  prove  injurious  to 
the  eyesight. 


$or  are  the  two  varieties  of  the  beet  without  their  remedial 
properties.60  The  root  of  either  white  or  black  beet,  if  hung  by 
a  string,  fresh-gathered,  and  softened  with  water,  is  said  to 
be  efficacious  for  the  stings  of  serpents.  White  beet,  boiled 
and  eaten  with  raw  garlic,  is  taken  for  tapeworm  ;  the  root, 
too,  of  the  black  kind,  similarly  boiled  in  water,  removes  por- 
rigo  ;  indeed,  it  is  generally  stated,  that  the  black  beet  is  the 
more  efficacious61  of  the  two.  The  juice  of  black  beet  is  good 
for  inveterate  head-aches  and  vertigo,  and  injected  into  the 
ears,  it  stops  singing  in  those  organs.  It  is  a  diuretic,  also, 
and  employed  in  injections  is  a  cure  for  dysentery  and  jaun- 

This  juice,  used  as  a  liniment,  allays  tooth-ache,  and  is  good 
for  the  stings  of  serpents  ;  but  due  care  must  be  taken  that  it  is 
extracted  from  this  root  only.  A  decoction,  too,  of  beet-root 
is  a  remedy  for  chilblains. 

A  liniment  of  white  beet-root  applied  to  the  forehead, 
arrests  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  and  mixed  with  a  little  alum  it 
is  an  excellent  remedy  for  erysipelas.  Beaten  up,  and  applied 

58  Or  southern- wood.     See  B.  xxi.  c.  34. 
M  See  B.  xxxi.  cc.  11  and  12. 

60  There  are  few  plants,  Fee  says,  which  are  so  utterly  destitute  of  all 
remedial  properties  as  the  beet.     See  B.  xix.  c.  40. 

61  Fee  says  that  the  leaves  of  beet  are  not  at  all  efficacious  except  as 
applications  for  inflammations  of  the  body. 

Chap.  29.]  ENDIVE.  233 

without  oil,  it  is  a  cure  for  excoriations.  Tn  the  same  way, 
too,  it  is  good  for  pimples  and  eruptions.  Boiled,  it  is  applied 
topically  to  spreading  ulcers,  and  in  a  raw  state  it  is  employed 
in  cases  of  alopecy,  and  running  ulcers  of  the  head.  The 
juice,  injected  with  honey  into  the  nostrils,  has  the  effect  of 
clearing  the  head.  Beet-root  is  boiled  with  lentils  and  vinegar, 
for  the  purpose  of  relaxing  the  bowels ;  if  it  is  boiled,  how- 
ever, some  time  longer,  it  will  have  the  effect  of  arresting 
fluxes  of  the  stomach  and  bowels. 


There  is  a  wild  beet,  too,  known  by  some  persons  as  "  limo- 
nion,"62  and  by  others  as  "neuroides ;"  it  has  leaves  much 
smaller  and  thinner  than  the  cultivated  kind,  and  lying  closer 
together.  These  leaves  amount  often  to  eleven63  in  number, 
the  stalk  resembling  that  of  the  lily.64  The  leaves  of  this  plant 
are  very  useful  for  burns,  and  have  an  astringent  taste  in  the 
mouth :  the  seed,  taken  in  doses  of  one  acetabulum,  is  good 
for  dysentery.  It  is  said  that  a  decoction  of  beet  with  the 
root  has  the  property  of  taking  stains  out  of  cloths  and 


Endive,65  too,  is  not  without  its  medicinal  uses.  The  juice 
of  it,  employed  with  rose  oil  and  vinegar,  has  the  effect  of 
allaying  headache  ;  and  taken  with  wine,  it  is  good  for  pains 
in  the  liver  and  bladder  :  it  is  used,  also,  topically,  for  defl uxions 
of  the  eyes.  The  spreading  endive  has  received  from  some  per- 

62  Dioscorides  merely  says  that  the  leaves  of  the  limonion  are  similar 
to  those  of  beet,  but  he  does  not  state  that  it  is  a  kind  of  wild  beet. 

63  Dioscorides  says  "  ten  or  more." 

64  Fee  is  inclined  to  identify  the  "limonium,"  or  "meadow-plant," 
with  the  Statice  limonium  of  Linnaeus ;  hut  looks  upon  its  identification  as 
very  doubtful.     Fuchs,  Tragus,  and  Lonicerus,  have  identified  it  with 
the  Pyrola  rotundifolia ;  but  that  is  not  a  meadow  plant,  it  growing  only 
in  the  woods.    Others,  again,  have  suggested  the  Senecio  doria,  or  "  water 

65  Divided  by  naturalists  into  wild  chicory  or  endive,  the  Cichorium 
intybus  of  Linnaeus,  and  cultivated  endive,  the  Cichorium  eudivia  of  Lin- 
naeus.    The  name  "  endive"  comes  from  the  Arabian  "  hindeb ;"  but  whe- 
ther that  was  derived  from  the  Latin  "  intuhum,"  or  vice  versa,  is  uncer- 
tain.   The  two  kinds  above  mentioned,  are  subdivided,  Fee  says,  into  two 
varieties,  the  cultivated  and  the  wild.    See  B.  xii,  c.  39. 


sons  among  us  the  name  of  "ambula."  In  Egypt,  the  wild 
endive  is  known  as  "  cichorium,"66  the  cultivated  kind  being 
called  "  seris."  This  last  is  smaller  than  the  other,  and  the 
leaves  of  it  more  full  of  veins. 



Wild  endive  or  cichorium  has  certain  refreshing  qualities,67 
used  as  an  aliment.  Applied  by  way  of  liniment,  it  disperses 
abscesses,  and  a  decoction  of  it  loosens  the  bowels.  It  is  also 
very  beneficial  to  the  liver,  kidneys,  and  stomach.  A  decoc- 
tion of  it  in  vinegar  has  the  effect  of  dispelling  the  pains  of 
strangury;  and,  taken  in  honied  wine,  it  is  a  cure  for  the 
jaundice,  if  unattended  with  fever.  It  is  beneficial,  also,  to 
the  bladder,  and  a  decoction  of  it  in  water  promotes  the 
menstrual  discharge  to  such  an  extent  as  to  bring  away  the 
dead  foetus  even. 

In  addition  to  these  qualities,  the  magicians68  state  that 
persons  who  rub  themselves  with  the  juice  of  the  entire  plant, 
mixed  with  oil,  are  sure  to  find  more  favour  with  others,  and 
to  obtain  with  greater  facility  anything  they  may  desire.  ' 
This  plant,  in  consequence  of  its  numerous  salutary  virtues, 
has  been  called  by  some  persons  "  chrestou,"69  and  "pancra- 
tion" 70  by  others. 

CHAP.    31. HEBYPN01S  :    FOUR   REMEDIES. 

There  is  a  sort  of  wild  endive,  too,  with  a  broader  leaf, 
known  to  some  persons  as  "hedypno'is."'1  Boiled,  it  acts  as 
an  astringent  upon  a  relaxed  stomach,  and  eaten  raw,  it  is  pro- 
ductive of  constipation.  It  is  good,  too,  for  dysentery,  when 
eaten  with  lentils  more  particularly.  This  variety,  as  well  as 

66  The  foundation  of  the   Greek   name,   »ci^wpioj/,   and   the   Arabic 

67  The  medicinal  properties  of  endive  vary,  according  as  it  is  employed 
wild  or  cultivated,  and  according  to  the  part  employed.     The  leaves  are 
more  bitter  than  the  stalk,  but  not  so  much  so  as  the  root.     The  juice  of 
all  the  varieties  is  very  similar,  probably,  to  that  of  the  lettuce ;  but,  as 
Fee  says,  little  use  has  been  made  of  it  in  modern  times. 

e8  Or  else,  "Magi." 

89  The  "useful/'  70  "The  all-powerful.'1 

71  The  Cichorium  luteum  of  C.  Bauhin,  the  Leontodon  palustre  of  Lin- 
neeus  :  known  to  us  as  the  "  dandelion,"  or  by  a  coarser  name. 

Chap.  33.]  T1IE    CABBAGE.  235 

the  preceding  one,  is  useful  for  ruptures  and  spasmodic  con- 
tractions, and  relieves  persons  who  are  suffering  from  sperma- 

CHAP.    32. SKKIS,    THREE    VARIETIES    OF    IT  :      SEVEN    REMEDIES 


The  vegetable,  too,  called  "  seris," 72  which  hears  a  consi- 
derable resemblance  to  the  lettuce,  consists  of  two  kinds.  The 
wild,  which  is  of  a  swarthy  colour,  and  grows  in  summer,  is 
the  best  of  the  two ;  the  winter  kind,  which  is  whiter  than 
the  other,  being  inferior.  They  are  both  of  them  bitter,  but 
are  extremely  beneficial  to  Jhe  stomach,  when  distressed  by 
humours  more  particularly.  Used  as  food  with  vinegar,  they 
are  cooling,  and,  employed  as  a  liniment,  they  dispel  other 
humours  besides  those  of  the  stomach.  The  roots  of  the  wild 
variety  are  eaten  with  polenta  for  the  stomach  ;  and  in  cardiac 
diseases  they  are  applied  topically  above  the  left  breast.  Boiled 
in  vinegar,  all  these  vegetables  are  good  for  the  gout,  and  for 
patients  troubled  with  spitting  of  blood  or  spermatorrhoea ;  the 
decoction  being  taken  on  alternate  days. 

Petronius  Diodotus,  who  has  written  a'medical  Anthology,73 
utterly  condemns  seris,  and  employs  a  multitude  of  arguments 
to  support  his  views :  this  opinion  of  his  is  opposed,  however, 
to  that  of  all  other  writers  on  the  subject. 


It  would  be  too  lengthy  a  task  to  enumerate  all  the  praise  s 
of  the  cabbage,  more  particularly  as  the  physician  Chrysippus 
has  devoted  a  whole  volume  to  the  subject,  in  which  its  vir- 
tues are  described  in  reference  to  each  individual  part  of  the 
human  body.  Dieuches  has  done  the  same,  and  Pythagoras 
too,  in  particular.  Cato,  too,  has  not  been  more  sparing  in  its 
praises  than  the  others ;  and  it  will  be  only  right  to  examine 
the  opinions  which  he  expresses  in  relation  to  it,  if  for  no 
other  purpose  than  to  learn  what  medicines  the  Roman  people 
made  use  of  for  six  hundred  years. 

The  most  ancient  Greek  writers  have  distinguished  three 
varieties  of  the  cabbage  ;  the  curly75  cabbage,   to  which  they 

72  The  kind  known  as  garden  endive,  the  Cichorium  endivia  of  Linnaeus. 

w  «  Antkologumena."  «  See  B.  xix.  c.  41.-  '  Cnspam. 


have  given  the  name  of  "  selino'ides," 76  from  the  resemblance 
of  its  leaf  to  that  of  parsley,  beneficial  to  the  stomach,  and 
moderately  relaxing  to  the  bowels ;  the  "  helia,"  with  broad 
leaves  running  out  from  the  stalk — a  circumstance,  owing  to 
which  some  persons  have  given  it  the  name  of  "  caulodes"-— 
of  no  use  whatever  in  a  medicinal  point  of  view ;  and  a  third, 
the  name  of  which  is  properly  "  crambe,"  with  thinner  leaves, 
of  simple  form,  and  closely  packed,  more  bitter  than  the  others, 
but  extremely  efficacious  in  medicine.77 

Cato78  esteems  the  curly  cabbage  the  most  highly  of  all, 
and  next  to  it,  the  smooth  cabbage  with  large  leaves  and 
a  thick  stalk.  He  says  that  it  is  a  good  thing  for  head- 
ache, dimness  of  the  sight,  and  dazzling79  of  the  eyes,  the 
spleen,  stomach,  and  thoracic  organs,  taken  raw  in  the  morn- 
ing, in  doses  of  two  acetabula,  with  oxymel,  coriander,  rue, 
mint,  and  root  of  silphium.80  He  says,  too,  that  the  virtue  of 
it  is  so  great  that  the  very  person  even  who  beats  up  this  mix- 
ture feels  himself  all  the  stronger  for  it ;  for  which  reason  he 
recommends  it  to  be  taken  mixed  with  these  condiments,  or, 
at  all  events,  dressed  with  a  sauce  compounded  of  them.  For 
the  gout,  too,  and  diseases  of  the  joints,  a  liniment  of  it  should 
be  used,  he  says,  with  a  little  rue  and  coriander,  a  sprinkling 
of  salt,  and  some  barley  meal :  the  very  water  even  in  which 
it  has  been  boiled  is  wonderfully  efficacious,  according  to  him, 
for  the  sinews  and  joints.  For  wounds,  either  recent  or  of 
long  standing,  as  also  for  carcinoma,81  which  is  incurable  by 
any  other  mode  of  treatment,  he  recommends  fomentations  to 
be  made  with  warm  water,  and,  after  that,  an  application  of 
cabbage,  beaten  up,  to  the  parts  affected,  twice  a-day.  He  says, 
also,  that  fistulas  and  sprains  should  be  treated  in  a  similar 
way,  as  well  as  all  humours  which  it  may  be  desirable  to  bring 
to  a  head  and  disperse ;  and  he  states  that  this  vegetable, 
boiled  and  eaten  fasting,  in  considerable  quantities,  with  oil 

76  "Parsley-like.** 

77  The  only  use  now  made  of  the  cabbage,  in  a  medicinal  point  of  view, 
is  the  extraction  from  the  red  cabbage,  which  is  rich  in  saccharine  matter, 
of  a  pectoral,  and  the  employment  of  the  round  cabbage,  in  the  form  of 
sour-krout,  as  an  antiscorbutic..   The  great  majority  of  the  statements  as 
to  the  virtues  of  the  cabbage,  though  supported  by  Cato,  and  in  a  great 
measure  by  Hippocrates,  are  utterly  fallacious. 

78  De  Re  Rust.  157.  79  "  Scintillationibus." 
80  See  B.  xix.  c.  15.                      81  Or  cancer. 

Chap.  34.]  OPINIONS  OF  THE  OliEEKS.  237 

and  salt,  has  the  effect  of  preventing  dreams  and  wakefulness ; 
also,  that  if,  after  one  boiling,  it  is  boiled  a  second  time,  with 
the  addition  of  oil,  salt,  cummin,  and  polenta,  it  will  relieve 
gripings82  in  the  stomach  ;  and  that,  if  eaten  in  this  way  with- 
out bread,  it  is  more  beneficial  still.  Among  various  other  par- 
ticulars, he  says,  that  if  taken  in  drink  with  black  wine,  it  has 
the  effect  of  carrying  off  the  bilious  secretions ;  and  he  recom- 
mends the  urine  of  a  person  who  has  been  living  on  a  cabbage 
diet  to  be  preserved,  as,  when  warmed,  it  is  a  good  remedy  for 
diseases  of  the  sinews.  I  will,  however,  here  give  the  iden- 
tical words  in  which  Cato  expresses  himself  upon  this  point : 
"  If  you  wash  little  children  with  this  urine,"  says  he,  "  they 
will  never  be  weak  and  puny." 

He  recommends,  also,  the  warm  juice  of  cabbage  to  be  in- 
jected into  the  ears,  in  combination  with  wine,  and  assures  us 
that  it  is  a  capital  remedy  for  deafness :  and  he  says  that  the 
cabbage  is  a  cure  for  impetigo83  without  the  formation  of 


As  we  have  already  given  those  of  Cato,  it  will  be  as  well 
to  set  forth  the  opinions  entertained  by  the  Greek  writers  on 
this  subject,  only  in  relation,  however,  to  those  points  upon 
which  he  has  omitted  to  touch.  They  are  of  opinion  that 
cabbage,  not  thoroughly  boiled,  carries  off  the  bile,  and  has 
the  effect  of  loosening  the  bowels  ;  while,  on  the  other  hand, 
if  it  is  boiled  twice  over,  it  will  act  as  an  astringent.  They 
say,  too,  that  as  there  is  a  natural84  eumity  between  it  and  the 
vine,  it  combats  the  effects  of  wine ;  that,  if  eaten  before  drink- 
ing, it  is  sure  to  prevent85  drunkenness,  being  equally  a  dis- 
pellent  of  crapulence86  if  taken  after  drinking :  that  cabbage 
is  a  food  very  beneficial  to  the  eyesight,  and  that  the  juice  of 
it  raw  is  even  more  so,  if  the  corners  of  the  eyes  are  only 
touched  with  a  mixture  of  it  with  Attic  honey.  Cabbage,  too, 

82  Cato,  De  Re  Rust.,  156,  157.       83  See  Note  11  to  C.  2  of  this  Book. 

14  This  absurd  notion  of  antipathy  is  carried  so  far  by  the  author  of  the 
Geoponica,  B.  v.  c.  11,  that  he  states  that  if  wine  is  thrown  on  cabbage 
while  on  the  fire,  it  will  never  be  thoroughly  boiled. 

35  Fee  remarks,  that  this  fact  would  surely  have  engaged  the  attention 
of  the  moderns,  if  there  had  been  any  truth  in  the  statement. 

<"  Crapulam  discuti."     "  Crapula"  was  that  state,  after  drinking1,  col- 
loquially known  at  the  present  day  as  "  seediness." 


according  to  the  same  testimony,  is  extremely  easy  of  diges- 
tion,87 and,  as  an  aliment,  greatly  tends  to  clear  the  senses. 

The  school  of  Erasistratus  proclaims  that  there  is  nothing 
more  beneficial  to  the  stomach  and  the  sinews  than  cabbage  ; 
for  which  reason,  he  says,  it  ought  to  be  given  to  the  paralytic 
and  nervous,  as  well  as  to  persons  affected  with  spitting  of 
blood.  Hippocrates  prescribes  it,  twice  boiled,  and  eaten  with 
salt,  for  dysentery  and  cceliac  affections,  as  also  for  tenesmus 
and  diseases  of  the  kidneys ;  he  is  of  opinion,  too,  that,  as 
an  aliment,  it  increases  the  quantity  of  the  milk  in  women 
who  are  nursing,  and  that  it  promotes  the  menstrual  dis- 
charge.88 The  stalk,  too,  eaten  raw,  is  efficacious  in  expelling 
the  dead  foetus.  Apollodorus  prescribes  the  seed  or  else  the 
juice  of  the  cabbage  to  betaken  in  cases  of  poisoning  by  fungi; 
and  Philistion  recommends  the  juice  for  persons  affected  with 
opisthotony,  in  goats'-milk,  with  salt  and  honey. 

I  find,  too,  that  persons  have  been  cured  of  the  gout  by  eating 
cabbage  and  drinking  a  decoction  of  that  plant.  This  decoction 
has  been  given,  also,  to  persons  afflicted  with  the  cardiac  disease 
and  epilepsy,  with  the  addition  of  salt ;  and  it  has  been  ad- 
ministered in  white  wine,  for  affections  of  the  spleen,  for  a 
period  of  forty  days. 

According  to  Philistion,  the  juice  of  the  raw  root  should  be 
given  as  a  gargle  to  persons  afflicted  with  icterus  89  or  phrenitis, 
and  for  hiccup  he  prescribes  a  mixture  of  it,  in  vinegar,  with 
coriander,  anise,  honey,  and  pepper.  Used  as  a  liniment,  cab- 
bage, he  says,  is  beneficial  for  inflations  of  the  stomach  ;  and 
the  very  water,  even,  in  which  it  has  been  boiled,  mixed  with 
barley-meal,  is  a  remedy  for  the  stings  of  serpents90  and  foul 
ulcers  of  long  standing ;  a  result  which  is  equally  effected  by 
a  mixture  of  cabbage-juice  with  vinegar  or  fenugreek.  It  is 
in  this  manner,  too,  that  some  persons  employ  it  topically,  for 
affections  of  the  joints  and  for  gout.  Applied  topically,  cab- 
bage is  a  cure  for  epinyctis,  arid  all  kinds  of  spreading  eruptions 
on  the  body,  as  also  for  sudden91  attacks  of  dimness  ;  indeed,  if 

67  The  contrary  is  in  reality  the  case,  it  being  a  diet  only  suitable  to 
strong  stomachs. 

e*  De  Morb.  Mulier.  B.  i.  cc.  73  and  74.     De  Nat.  Mulier.  29  and  31. 

89  The  jaundice. 

20  Fee  is  inclined  to  account  for  the  numerous  antidotes  and  remedies 
mentioned  for  the  stings  of  serpents,  by  supposing  that  the  stings  them- 
selves of  many  of  them  were  not  really  venomous,  but  only  supposed  to  be  so. 

81  "  Ilepentinas  caligines." 

Chap.  35.]  CABBAGE- SFBOUTS.  239 

eaten  with  vinegar,  it  lias  the  effect  of  curing  the  last.  Ap- 
plied by  itself,  it  heals  contusions  and  other  livid  spots  ;  and 
mixed  with  a  hall  of  alum  in  vinegar,  it  is  good  as  a  liniment 
for  leprosy  and  itch- scabs  :  used  in  this  way,  too,  it  prevents 
the  hair  from  falling  off. 

Epicharmus  assures  us  that,  applied  topically,  cabbage  is 
extremely  beneficial  for  diseases  of  the  testes  and  genitals,  and 
even  better  still  when  employed  with  bruised  beans ;  he  says, 
too,  that  it  is  a  cure  for  convulsions ;  that,  in  combination 
with  rue,  it  is  good  for  the  burning  heats  of  fever  and  maladies 
of  the  stomach ;  and  that,  with  rue-seed,  it  brings  awa}'  the 
after-birth.  It  is  of  use,  also,  for  the  bite  of  the  shrew-mouse. 
Dried  cabbage-leaves,  reduced  to  a  powder,  are  a  cathartic  both 
by  vomit  and  by  stool. 


In  all  varieties  of  the  cabbage,  the  part  most  agreeable  to 
the  taste  is  the  cyma,92  although  no  use  is  made  of  it  in  medi- 
cine, as  it  is  difficult  to  digest,  and  by  no  means  beneficial  to 
the  kidneys.  At  the  same  time,  too,  it  should  not  be  omitted, 
that  the  water  in  which  it  has  been  boiled,93  and  which  is  so 
highly  praised  for  many  purposes,  gives  out  a  very  bad  smell 
when  poured  upon  the  ground.  The  ashes  of  dried  cabbage- 
stalks  are  generally  reckoned  among  the  caustic  substances  : 
mixed  with  stale  grease,  they  are  einplo}*ed  for  sciatica, 
and,  used  as  a  liniment,  in  the  form  of  a  depilatory,  toge- 
ther with  silphium  94  and  vinegar,  they  prevent  hair  that  has 
been  once  removed  from  growing  again.  These  ashes,  too,  are 
taken  lukewarm  in  oil,  or  else  by  themselves,  for  convul- 
sions, internal  ruptures,  and  the  effects  of  falls  with  violence. 

And  are  we  to  say  then  that  the  cabbage  is  possessed  of  no 
evil  qualities  whatever  ?  Certainly  not,  for  the  same  authors 
tell  us,  that  it  is  apt  to  make  the  breath  smell,  and  that  it  is 
injurious  to  the  teeth  and  gums.  In  Eg)  pt,  too,  it  is  never 
eaten,  on  account  of  its  extreme  bitterness.95 

92  "  Sprout,"  or  "  Brussels  sprout."     See  B.  xix.  c.  41. 

93  He  is  probably  speaking  of  cabbage-water  in  general. 

94  See  B.  xix.  c.  15. 

95  This  bitter  or  pungent  cabbage,  Fee  suggests,  did  not,  probnbly, 
belong  to  the  genus  Brassica. 

240  PLINY'S    NATURAL    HISTORY.  [Book  XX. 


Cato  %  extols  infinitely  more  highly  the  properties  of  wild  or 
erratic  cabbage  f  so  much  so,  indeed,  as  to  affirm  that  the 
very  powder  of  it,  dried  and  collected  in  a  scent-box,  has  the 
property,  on  merely  smelling  at  it,  of  removing  maladies  of  the 
nostrils  and  the  bad  smells  resulting  therefrom.  Some  per- 
sons call  this  wild  cabbage  "petraea :"  M  it  has  an  extreme  an- 
tipathy to  wine,  so  much  so,  indeed,  that  the  vine  invariably98* 
avoids  it,  and  if  it  cannot  make  its  escape,  will  be  sure  to  die. 
This  vegetable  has  leaves  of  uniform  shape,  small,  rounded,  and 
smooth :  bearing  a  strong  resemblance  to  the  cultivated  cab- 
bage, it  is  whiter,  and  has  a  more  downy"  leaf. 

According  to  Chrysippus,  this  plant  is  a  remedy  for  flatu- 
lency, melancholy,  and  recent  wounds,  if  applied  with  hone}', 
and  not  taken  off  before  the  end  of  six  days :  beaten  up  in 
water,  it  is  good  also  for  scrofula  and  fistula.  Other  writers, 
again,  say  that  it  is  an  effectual  cure  for  spreading  sores  on 
the  body,  known  as  "  nomae  ;"  that  it  has  the  property,  also, 
of  removing  excrescences,  and  of  reducing  the  scars  of  wounds 
and  sores ;  that  if  chewed  raw  with  honey,  it  is  a  cure  for 
ulcers  of  the  mouth  and  tonsils ;  and  that  a  decoction  of  it  used 
as  a  gargle  with  honey,  is  productive  of  the  same  effect.  They 
say,  too,  that,  mixed  in  strong  vinegar  with  alum,  in  the  pro- 
portion of  three  parts  to  two  of  alum,  and  then  applied  as  a 
liniment,  it  is  a  cure  for  itch -scabs  and  leprous  sores  of  long 
standing.  Epicharmus  informs  us,  that  for  the  bite  of  a  mad 
dog,  it  is  quite  sufficient  to  apply  it  topically  to  the  part  af- 
fected, but  that  if  used  with  silphium  and  strong  vinegar,  it  is 
better  still :  he  says,  too,  that  it  will  kill  a  dog,  if  given  to  it 
with  flesh  to  eat. 

The  seed  of  this  plant,  parched,  is  remedial  in  cases  of  poison- 

96  De  Re  Rust.  c.  157. 

97  Fee  is  of  opinion  that  Pliny  has  here  confused  the  description  of  two 
different  plants ;  and  that,  intending  to  describe  the  Brassica  arvensis  of 
modern  botany,  he  has  superadded  a  description  of  the  "  Crambe  agria," 
mentioned  by  Dioseorides,  which  appears  to  be  identical  with  the  Crarabe 
maritima,  or  Brassica  marina,  the  "  sea-cabbage"  of  the  ancients  (see  c. 
38.),  the  Convolvulus  soldanella  of  modern  botany. 

*8  Or  "  rock-cabbage,"  a  name  given  more  properly  to  the  Convolvulus 
soldauella.  "*  See  c.  34,  and  B.  xxiv.  c.  1. 

99  A  description,  really,  of  the  Convolvulus  soldanella. 

Chap.  39.]  THE    SQUILL.  241 

ing,  by  the  stings  of  serpents,  eating  fungi,  and  drinking  bulls' 
blood.  The  leaves  of  it,  either  boiled  and  taken  in  the  food 
or  else  eaten  raw,  or  applied  with  a  liniment  of  sulphur  and 
nitre,  are  good  for  affections  of  the  spleen,  as  well  as  hard  tu- 
mours of  the  mamillae.  In  swelling  of  the  uvula,  if  the  parts 
affected  are  only  touched  with  the  ashes  of  the  root,  a  cure  will 
be  the  result ;  and  applied  topically  with  honey,  they  are 
equally  beneficial  for  reducing  swellings  of  the  parotid  glands, 
and  curing  the  stings  of  serpents.  We  will  add  only  one  more 
proof  of  the  virtues  of  the  cabbage,  and  that  a  truly  marvellous 
one — in  all  vessels  in  which  water  is  boiled,  the  incrustations 
which  adhere  with  such  tenacity  that  it  is  otherwise  impossible 
to  detach  them,  will  fall  off  immediately  if  a  cabbage  is  boiled 


Among  the  wild  cabbages,  we  find  also  the  lapsana,1  a  plant 
which  grows  a  foot  in  height,  has  a  hairy  leaf,  and  strongly 
resembles  mustard,  were  it  not  that  the  blossom  is  whiter.  It 
is  eaten  cooked,  and  has  the  property  of  soothing  and  gently 
relaxing  the  bowels. 


Sea-cabbage2  is  the  most  strongly  purgative  of  all  these 
plants.  It  is  cooked,  in  consequence  of  its  extreme  pungency, 
with  fat  meat,  and  is  extremely  detrimental  to  the  stomach. 


In  medicine,  we  give  the  name  of  white  squill  to  the  male 
plant,  and  of  black 3  to  the  female :  the  whiter  the  squill,  the 
better  it  is  for  medicinal4  purposes.  The  dry  coats  being  first 
taken  off  of  it,  the  remaining  part,  or  so  much  of  it  as  retains 
life,  is  cut  into  pieces,  which  are  then  strung  and  suspended 

1  See  B.  xix.  c.  41. 

2  The  Convolvulus  soldanella  of  Linnaeus,  Fe*e  thinks  :  not  one  of  the 
Cruciferae,  but  belonging  to  the  Convolvulacese. 

3  See  B.  xix.  c.  30. 

4  The  squill  is  still  regarded  in  medicine  as  one  of  the  most  energetic  of 
all  the  vegetable  productions,  as  a  diuretic,  an  expectorant,  and,  in  large 
doses,  an  emetic.    Squill  vinegar  is  still  the  form  in  which  it  is  usually 
administered.    Columella  gives  a  somewhat  different  account  of  the  mode 
of  preparing  it. 

VOL.    IV.  B 


on  a  string,  at  short  distances  from  each  other.  After  these 
pieces  are  thoroughly  dried,  they  are  thrown  into  a  jar  of  the 
very  strongest  vinegar,  suspended  in  such  a  way,  however,  as 
not  to  touch  any  portion  of  the  vessel.  This  is  done  forty-eight 
days  hefore  the  summer  solstice.  The  mouth  of  the  jar  is  then 
tightly  sealed  with  plaster ;  after  which  it  is  placed  beneath 
some  tiles  which  receive  the  rays  of  the  sun  the  whole  day 
through.  At  the  end  of  forty-eight  days  the  vessel  is  removed, 
the  squills  are  taken  out  of  it,  and  the  vinegar  poured  into 
another  jar. 

This  vinegar  has  the  effect  of  sharpening  the  eyesight,  and, 
taken  every  other  day,  is  good  for  pains  in  the  stomach  and 
sides :  the  strength  of  it,  however,  is  so  great,  that  if  taken  in 
too  large  a  quantity,  it  will  for  some  moments  produce  all  the 
appearance  of  death.  Squills,  too,  if  chewed  by  themselves 
even,  are  good  for  the  gums  and  teeth ;  and  taken  in  vinegar 
and  honey  they  expel  tapeworm  and  other  intestinal  worms. 
Put  fresh  beneath  the  tongue,  they  prevent  persons  afflicted 
with  dropsy  from  experiencing  thirst. 

Squills  are  cooked  in  various  ways ;  either  in  a  pot  with  a 
lining  of  clay  or  grease,  which  is  put  into  an  oven  or  furnace,  ' 
or  else  cut  into  pieces  and  stewed  in  a  saucepan.  They  are 
dried  also  in  a  raw  state,  and  then  cut  into  pieces  and  boiled 
with  vinegar  ;  in  which  case,  they  are  employed  as  a  liniment 
for  the  stings  of  serpents.  Sometimes,  again,  they  are  roasted 
and  then  cleaned ;  after  which,  the  middle  of  the  bulb  is 
boiled  again  in  water. 

When  thus  boiled,  they  are  used  for  dropsy,  as  a  diuretic, 
being  taken  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  with  oxymel :  they  are 
employed  also  in  a  similar  manner  for  affections  of  the  spleen, 
and  of  the  stomach,  when  it  is  too  weak  to  digest  the  food, 
provided  no  ulcerations  have  made  their  appearance ;  also  for 
gripings  of  the  bowels,  jaundice,  and  inveterate  cough,  accom- 
panied with  asthma.  A  cataplasm  of  squill  leaves,  taken  off 
at  the  end  of  four  days,  has  the  effect  of  dispersing  scrofulous 
swellings  of  the  neck  ;  and  a  decoction  of  squills  in  oil,  applied 
as  a  liniment,  is  a  cure  for  dandriff  and  running  ulcers  of  the 

Squills  are  boiled  with  honey  also  for  the  table,  with  the 
view  of  aiding  the  digestion  more  particularly ;  used  in  this 
way,  too,  they  act  upon  the  inside  as  a  purgative.  Boiled 

Chap.  40.]  BULBS.  243 

with  oil,  and  then  mixed  with  resin,  they  are  a  cure  for  chaps 
on  the  feet ;  and  the  seed,  mixed  with  honey,  is  applied  to- 
pically, for  the  cure  of  lumbago.  Pythagoras  says  that  a 
Bquill,  suspended  at  the  threshold  of  the  door,  effectually  shuts 
all  access  to  evil  spells  and  incantations.5 


Bulbs,6  steeped  in  vinegar  and  sulphur,  are  good  for  the  cure 
of  wounds  in  the  face  ;7  beaten  up  and  used  alone,  they  are 
beneficial  for  contractions  of  the  sinews,  mixed  with  wine, 
for  porrigo,  and  used  with  honey,  for  the  bites  of  dogs ;  in  this 
last  case,  however,  Erasistratus  says  that  they  ought  to  be 
mixed  with  pitch.  The  same  author  states  that,  applied  to- 
pically with  honey,  they  stanch  the  flowing  of  blood ;  other 
writers  say,  however,  that  in  cases  of  bleeding  at  the  nose, 
coriander  and  meal  should  be  employed  in  combination  with 
them.  Theodorus  prescribes  bulbs  in  vinegar  for  the  cure  of 
lichens,  and  for  eruptions  in  the  head  he  recommends  bulbs 
mixed  with  astringent  wine,  or  an  egg  beaten  up  ;  he  treats 
defluxions  of  the  e}res  also  with  bulbs,  applied  topically,  and 
uses  a  similar  method  for  the  cure  of  ophthalmia.  The  red 
bulbs  more  particularly,  will  cause  spots  in  the  face  to  dis- 
appear, if  rubbed  upon  them  with  honey  and  nitre  in  the  sun ; 
and  applied  with  wine  or  boiled  cucumber  they  will  remove 
i'reckles.  Used  either  by  themselves,  or  as  Damion  recom- 
mends, in  combination  with  honied  wine,  they  are  remarkably 
efficacious  for  the  cure  of  wounds,  care  being  taken,  however, 
not  to  remove  the  application  till  the  end  of  four  days.  The 

5  Theocritus  says  that  the  squill  effectually  protects  statues  and  tombs 
from  outrages  being  committed  upon  them ;    and  it  was  so  customary  to 
plant  them  about  the  graves,  that  it  became  a  proverbial  saying,  "He  is 
frantic  enough  to  pluck  squills  from  a  grave."     Theophrastus  states  that 
squills  were  employed  in  certain  expiatory  ceremonials. 

6  As  to  the  identification  of  the  "  bulbs,"  see  B.  xix.  c.   30.     The  wild 
bulbs,  Fee  is  of  opinion,   are  probably  the  Nigrum  allium  or  Moly  of 
modern  Botany ;  and  the  Allium  schcenoprasum  belongs,  in  his  opinion,  to 
the  cultivated  bulbs. 

7  Supposing,  Fee  says,  that  the  Bulbi  of  the  ancients  belonged  to  the 
genus  Allium  or  garlic  of  modern  Botany,  we  may  conclude  that  in  a  me- 
dicinal point  of  view,  they  were  of  an  exciting  nature,  powerful  vermifuges, 
and  slightly  blistering  when  applied  topically.     The  other  statements  here 
made,  as  to  their  medicinal  qualities,  are  not  consistent  with  modern  ex- 

E   2 


same  author  prescribes  them,  too,  for  the  cure  of  fractured 
ears,  and  collections  of  crude  humours  in  the  testes.8 

For  pains  in  the  joints,  bulbs  are  used  with  meal ;  boiled 
in  wine,  and  applied  to  the  abdomen,  they  reduce  hard  swellings 
of  the  viscera.  In  dysentery,  they  are  given  in  wine  mixed 
with  rain  water ;  and  for  convulsions  of  the  intestines  they 
are  employed,  in  combination  with  silphium,  in  pills  the  size  of 
a  bean :  bruised,  they  are  employed  externally,  for  the  purpose 
of  checking  perspirations.  Bulbs  are  good,  too,  for  the  sinews, 
for  which  reason  it  is  that  they  are  given  to  paralytic  patients. 
The  red  bulb,  mixed  with  honey  and  salt,  heals  sprains  of  the 
feet  with  great  rapidity.  The  bulbs  of  Megara9  act  as  a  strong 
aphrodisiac,  and  garden  bulbs,  taken  with  boiled  must  or  raisin 
wine,  aid  delivery. 

Wild  bulbs,  made  up  into  pills  with  silphium,  effect  the 
cure  of  wounds  and  other  affections  of  the  intestines.  The 
seed,  too,  of  the  cultivated  kinds  is  taken  in  wine  as  a  cure 
for  the  bite  of  the  phalaDgium,10  and  the  bulbs  themselves 
are  applied  in  vinegar  for  the  cure  of  the  stings  of  serpents. 
The  ancients  used  to  give  bulb-seed  to  persons  afflicted  with 
madness,  in  drink.  The  blossom,  beaten  up,  removes  spots 
upon  the  legs,  as  well  as  scorches  produced  by  fire.  Diocles 
is  of  opinion  that  the  sight  is  impaired  by  the  use  of  bulbs ; 
he  adds,  too,  that  when  boiled  they  are  not  so  wholesome  as 
roasted,  and  that,  of  whatever  nature  they  may  be,  they  are 
difficult  of  digestion. 


The  Greeks  give  the  name  bulbine11  to  a  plant  with  leaves 
resembling  those  of  the  leek,  and  a  red  bulbous  root.  This 
plant,  it  is  said,  is  marvellously  good  for  wounds,  but  only 
when  they  are  of  recent  date.  The  bulbous  plant  known  as 
the  "  emetic"  bulb,12  from  the  effects  which  it  produces,  has 
dark  leaves,13  and  longer  than  those  of  the  other  kinds. 

8  Testium  pituitas. 

9  See  B.  xix.  c.  30.     Athenaeus,  B.  ii.  c.  26,  attributes  a  similar  pro- 
perty to  the  bulbs  of  Megara. 

10  See  B.  xi.  cc.  24,  28. 

11  The  Hyacinthus  botryoides  of  Linnaeus,  most  probably. 

12  "  Bulbus  vomitorius."      The  Narcissus  jonquilla  of   Linnseus,  the 
"  emetic  jonquil."     The  bulb  of  the  Spanish  jonquil  acts  as  a  strong  emetic. 

13  Dioseorides  says,  more  correctly,  a  black  outer  coat  or  peeling, 

Chap.  43.]  CORRUDA,  LTBYCUM,  OR  ORMINUM.  245 

CHAP.    42.     (10.) GARDEN     ASPARAGUS;     WITH     THE     NEXT 


Asparagus14  is  said  to  be  extremely  wholesome  as  an  aliment 
to  the  stomach.  With  the  addition  of  cummin,  it  dispels 
flatulency  of  the  stomach  and  colon  ;  it  sharpens  the  eyesight 
also,  acts  as  a  mild  aperient  upon  the  stomach,  and,  boiled  with 
wine,  is  good  for  pains  in  the  chest  and  spine,  and  diseases  of 
the  intestines.  For  pains  in  the  loins  and  kidneys  asparagus- 
seed  15  is  administered  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  taken  with  an 
equal  proportion  of  cummin- seed.  It  acts  as  an  aphrodisiac, 
and  is  an  extremely  useful  diuretic,  except  that  it  has  a  ten- 
dency to  ulcerate  the  bladder.16 

The  root,  also,  pounded  and  taken  in  white  wine,  is  highly 
extolled  by  some  writers,  as  having  the  effect  of  disengaging 
calculi,  and  of  soothing  pains  in  the  loins  and  kidneys ; 
there  are  some  persons,  too,  who  administer  this  root  with 
sweet  wine  for  pains  in  the  uterus.  Boiled  in  vinegar  the 
root  is  very  beneficial  in  cases  of  elephantiasis.  It  is  said  that 
if  a  person  is  rubbed  with  asparagus  beaten  up  in  oil,  he  will 
never  be  stung  by  bees. 


Wild  asparagus  is  by  some  persons  called  "  corruda,"  by 
others  "  libycum,"  and  by  the  people  of  Attica  "  orminus."17 
For  all  the  affections  above  enumerated  it  is  more  efficacious 
even  than  the  cultivated  kind,  that  which  is  white13  more 
particularly.  This  vegetable  has  the  effect  of  dispelling  the 
jaundice,  and  a  decoction  of  it,  in  doses  of  one  hemina,  is 
recommended  as  an  aphrodisiac  ;  a  similar  effect  is  produced 
also  by  a  mixture  of  asparagus  seed  and  dill  in  doses  of  three 

14  Asparagus  is  recognized  in  modern  times,  as  exercising  a  strong  action 
on  the  kidneys.     Fee  says,  that  according  to  Dr.  Broussais,  it  is  a  sedative 
to  palpitations  of  the  heart,  an  assertion,  the  truth  of  which,  he  says,  his 
own  experience  has  confirmed.     The  root  is  also  looked  upon  as  diuretic. 

15  Asparagus  seed  is  not  used  in  modern  pharmacy,  and  it  is  very  doubt- 
ful if  it  possesses  any  virtues  at  all. 

16  Fee  says  that  there  is  no  truth  in  this  assertion. 

17  See  B.  xix.  c.  42  :  the  Asparagus  tenuifolius  of  Linnseus,  the  wild 
asparagus,  or  Corruda  of  the  South  of  France. 

18  Fee  says  that  in  the  South  of  Europe  there  is  a  kind,  known  to  bota- 
nists as  white  asparagus,  with  a  prickly  stem  :  he  suggests  that  it  may 
possibly  be  the  same  as  that  here  spoken  of. 


oboli  respectively.  A  decoction  of  asparagus  juice  is  given 
also  for  the  stings  of  serpents ;  and  the  root  of  it,  mixed  with 
that  of  marathrum,19  is  reckoned  in  the  number  of  the  most 
valuable  remedies  we  are  acquainted  with. 

In  cases  of  hseinaturia,  Chrysippus  recommends  a  mixture 
of  asparagus,  parsley,  and  cummin  seed,  to  be  given  to  the 
patient  every  five  days,  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  mixed  with 
two  cyathi  of  wine.  He  says,  however,  that  though  employed 
this  way,  it  is  a  good  diuretic,  it  is  bad  for  dropsy,  and 
acts  as  an  antaphrodisiac ;  and  that  it  is  injurious  to  the 
bladder,  unless  it  is  boiled  first.21  He  states  also,  that  if  the 
water  in  which  it  is  boiled  is  given  to  dogs,  it  will  kill  them  ;22 
and  that  the  juice  of  the  root  boiled  in  wine,  kept  in  the  mouth, 
is  an  effectual  cure  for  tooth-ache. 

CHAP.    44.    (11.) PAESLEY  ;     SEVENTEEN   REMEDIES. 

Parsley23  is  held  in  universal  esteem;  for  we  find  sprigs  of 
it  swimming  in  the  draughts  of  milk  given  us  to  drink  in 
country- places  ;  and  we  know  that  as  a  seasoning  for  sauces,  it 
is  looked  upon  with  peculiar  favour.  Applied  to  the  eyes  with 
honey,  which  must  also  be  fomented  from  time  to  time  with  a 
warm  decoction  of  it,  it  has  a  most  marvellous  efficacy  in  cases 
of  defluxion  of  those  organs  or  of  other  parts  of  the  body;  as 
also  when  beaten  up  and  applied  by  itself,  or  in  combination 
with  bread  or  with  polenta.  Fish,  too,  when  found  to  be  in 
an  ailing  state  in  the  preserves,  are  greatly  refreshed  by 
giving  them  green  parsley.  As  to  the  opinions  entertained 
upx)n  it  among  the  learned,  there  is  not  a  single  production 
dug  out  of  the  earth  in  reference  to  which  a  greater  diversity 

19  Or  fennel.  Fee  says  that,  till  very  recently,  the  roots  of  asparagus 
and  of  fennel  were  combined  in  medicine,  forming  part  of  the  five  "  major 
aperitive  "  roots.  The  sirop  of  the  five  aperitive  roots  is  still  used,  he  says, 
in  medicine. 

21  Chrysippus  and  Dioscorides  were  of  opinion,  that  a  decoction  of  as- 
paragus root  causes  sterility  in  women  ;  a  false  notion,  which,  as  Fee  re- 
marks, prevailed  very  generally  in  Greece. 

23  This  is  not  consistent  with  fact. 

22  See  B.  xix.  c.  37.     Parsley,  though  possessed  of  marked  properties, 
is  but  little  employed  in  medicine.     What  Pliny  here  states  respecting  it, 
Fee  says,  is  a  tissue  of  fables  :  but  it  is  still  used  for  the  cure  of  sores,  and 
even  as  an  ophthalmic. 

Chap.  45.]         APIASTEUH,  OR  MELISSOPKTLLUM.  247 

Parsley  is  distinguished  as  male  and  female  :24  according  to 
Chrysippus,  the  female  plant  has  a  hard  leaf  and  more  curled 
than  the  other,  a  thick  stem,  and  an  acrid,  hot  taste.  Dio- 
nysius  says,  that  the  female  is  darker  than  the  other  kind, 
has  a  shorter  root,  and  engenders  small  worms.25  Both  of 
these  writers,  however,  agree  in  saying  that  neither  kind  of 
parsley  should  be  admitted  into  the  number  of  our  aliments ; 
indeed,  they  look  upon  it  as  nothing  less  than  sacrilege  to  do  so, 
seeing  that  parsley  is  consecrated  to  the  funereal  feasts  in  honour 
of  the  dead.  They  say,  too,  that  it  is  injurious  to  the  eye- 
sight, that  the  stalk  of  the  female  plant  engenders  small  worms, 
for  which  reason  it  is  that  those  who  eat  of  it  become  barren — 
males  as  well  as  females  ;  and  that  children  suckled  by  females 
who  live  on  a  parsley  diet,  are  sure  to  be  epileptic.  They 
agree,  however,  in  stating  that  the  male  plant  is  not  so  inju- 
rious in  its  effects  as  the  female,  and  that  it  is  for  this  reason 
that  it  is  not  absolutely  condemned  and  classed  among  the  for- 
bidden plants.  The  leaves  of  it,  employed  as  a  cataplasm,  are 
used  for  dispersing  hard  tumours28  in  the  mamillae ;  and  when 
boiled  in  water,  it  makes  it  more  agreeable  to  drink.  The 
juice  of  the  root  more  particularly,  mixed  with  wine,  allays 
the  pains  of  lumbago,  and,  injected  into  the  ears,  it  diminishes 
hardness  of  hearing.  The  seed  of  it  acts  as  a  diuretic,  pro- 
motes the  menstrual  discharge,  and  brings  away  the  after- 

Bruises  and  livid  spots,  if  fomented  .with  a  decoction  of 
parsley-seeed,  will  resume  their  natural  colour.  Applied  to- 
pically, with  the  white  of  egg,  or  boiled  in  water,  and  then 
drunk,  it  is  remedial  for  affections  of  the  kidneys ;  and  beaten 
up  in  cold  water  it  is  a  cure  for  ulcers  of  the  mouth.  The 
seed,  mixed  with  wine,  or  the  root,  taken  with  old  wine,  has 
the  effect  of  breaking  calculi  in  the  bladder.  The  seed,  too, 
is  given  in  white  wine,  to  persons  afflicted  with  the  jaundice. 


Hyginus  gave  the  name  of  "apiastrum"  to  melissophyl- 
luni  r27  but  that  which  grows  in  Sardinia  is  poisonous,  and 

24  This  distinction,  Fee  says,  cannot  be  admitted. 

25  Or  maggots. 

26  This  belief  in  its  efficacy,  Fee  says,  still  exists. 

27  See  B.  xxi.  c.  86  :  this  is  the  Melissa  officinalis  of  Linnseus,  or  balm- 


universally  condemned.  I  speak  here  of  this  plant,  because 
I  feel  it  my  duty  to  place  before  the  reader  every  object  which 
has  been  classified,  among  the  Greeks,  under  the  same  name. 



Olusatrum,28  usually  known  as  hippo selinon,29  is  particu- 
larly repulsive  to  scorpions.  The  seed  of  it,  taken  in  drink, 
is  a  cure  for  gripings  in  the  stomach  and  intestinal  complaints, 
and  a  decoction  of  the  seed,  drunk  in  honied  wine,  is  curative 
in  cases  of  dysuria.30  The  root  of  the  plant,  boiled  in  wine, 
expels  calculi  of  the  bladder,  and  is  a  cure  for  lumbago  and 
pains  in  the  sides.  Taken  in  drink  and  applied  topically,  it 
is  a  cure  for  the  bite  of  a  mad  dog,  and  the  juice  of  it,  when 
drunk,  is  warming  for  persons  benumbed  with  cold. 

Some  persons  make  out  oreoselinon 31  to  be  a  fourth  species 
of  parsley  :  it  is  a  shrub  about  a  palm  in  height,  with  an  elon- 
gated seed,  bearing  a  strong  resemblance  to  that  of  cummin, 
and  efficacious  for  the  urine  and  the  catamenia.  Heliose- 
linon32  is  possessed  of  peculiar  virtues  against  the  bites  of 
spiders  :  and  oreoselinon  is  used  with  wine  for  promoting  the  ; 
menstrual  discharge. 

CHAP.  47.    (12.) — PETROSEL1NON  ;    ONE  REMEDY.       BT7SELINON  ; 

Another  kind  again,  which  grows  in  rocky  places,  is  known 
by  some  persons  as  *"  petroselinon  :"33  it  is  particularly  good 
for  abscesses,  taken  in  doses  of  two  spoonfuls  of  the  juice  to 
one  cyathus  of  juice  of  horehound,  mixed  with  three  cyathi  of 
warm  water.  Some  writers  have  added  buselinon34  to  the  list, 

gentle,  from  which  the  bees  gather  honey,  quite  a  different  plant  to  api- 
astrum  or  wild  parsley.  The  Sardinian  plant  here  mentioned,  is  probably 
the  same  as  the  Ranunculus,  mentioned  in  B.  xxv.  c.  109,  where  its  iden- 
tification will  be  further  discussed. 

28  See  B.  xix.  c.  48.  29  Or  u  horse  parsley." 

30  Or  strangury.  No  medicinal  use  is  made  of  this  plant  in  modern 
times.  31  Or  "  mountain  parsley,"  see  B.  xix.  c.  48. 

32  Or  "marsh-parsley,"  see  B.  xix.  c.37.  It  is  possessed  of  certain  energetic 
properties,  more  appreciated  by  the  ancient  physicians  than  in  modern 

33  "  Rock-parsley  :"  from  this  name  comes  our  word  "  parsley."     It  is 
not  clearly  known  to  what  variety  of  parsley  he  refers  under  this  name. 

34  Or  "  ox-parsley."  C.  Bauhin  identifies  this  with  the  Petroselinum  Ore- 

Chap.  48.]  OCIMUM.  249 

which  differs  only  from  the  cultivated  kind  in  the  shortness 
of  the  stalk  and  the  red  colour  of  the  root,  the  medicinal 
properties  being  just  the  same.  Taken  in  drink  or  ap- 
plied topically,  it  is  an  excellent  remedy  for  the  stings  of 


Chrysippus  has  exclaimed  as  strongly,  too,  against  ocimum35 
as  he  has  against  parsley,  declaring  that  it  is  prejudicial  to  the 
stomach  and  the  free  discharge  of  the  urine,  and  is  injurious 
to  the  sight ;  that  it  produces  insanity,  too,  and  lethargy,  as 
well  as  diseases  of  the  liver ;  and  that  it  is  for  this  reason  that 
goats  refuse  to  touch  it.  Hence  he  comes  to  the  conclusion, 
that  the  use  of  it  ought  to  be  avoided  by  man.  Some  persons 
go  so  far  as  to  say,  that  if  beaten  up,  and  then  placed  beneath 
a  stone,  a  scorpion  will  breed  there  j36  and  that  if  chewed,  and 
then  placed  in  the  sun,  worms  will  breed  in  it.  The  people  of 
Africa  maintain,  too,  that  if  a  person  is  stung  by  a  scorpion 
the  same  day  on  which  he  has  eaten  ocimum,  his  life  cannot 
possibly  be  saved.  Even  more  than  this,  there  are  some  who 
assert,  that  if  a  handful  of  ocimum  is  beaten  up  with  ten  sea 
or  river  crabs,  all  the  scorpions  in  the  vicinity  will  be  attracted 
to  it.  Diodotus,  too,  in  his  Book  of  Recipes,37  says,  that 
ocimum,  used  as  an  article  of  food,  breeds  lice. 

Succeeding  ages,  again,  have  warmly  defended  this  plant ;  it 
has  been  maintained,  for  instance,  that  goats  do  eat  it,  that 
the  mind  of  no  one  who  has  eaten  of  it  is  at  all  affected,  and, 
that  mixed  with  wine,  with  the  addition  of  a  little  vinegar,  it  is 
a  cure  for  the  stings  of  land  scorpions,  and  the  venom  of  those 
found  in  the  sea.  Experience  has  proved,  too,  that  the  smell 
of  this  plant  in  vinegar  is  good  for  fainting  fits  and  lethargy, 

ticum  or  Agriopastinaca  of  Crete ;  but,  as  Fee  remarks,  it  is  not  clear  to 
which  of  the  Umbelliferse  he  refers  under  that  name. 

35  The  Ocimum  basilicum  of  Linnreus,  according  to  most  commentators  : 
though  Fee  is  not  of  that  opinion,  it  being  originally  from  India,  and  never 
found  in  a  wild  state.  From  what  Varro  says,  De  Re  Rust.  B.  i.  c.  31, 
he  thinks  that  it  must  be  sought  among  the  leguminous  plants,  the  £enus 
Hedysarum,  Lathyrus,  or  Medicago.  He  remarks  also,  that  Pliny  is  the 
more  to  be  censured  for  the  absurdities  contained  in  this  Chapter,  as  the 
preceding  writers  had  only  mentioned  them  to  ridicule  them. 

35  See  B.  ix.  c.  51. 

&  {<  In  Empericis." 


as  well  as  inflammations  ;  that  employed  as  a  cooling  lini- 
ment, with  rose  oil,  myrtle  oil,  or  vinegar,  it  is  good  for  head- 
ache ;  and  that  applied  topically  with  wine,  it  is  beneficial  for 
defluxions  of  the  eyes.  It  has  been  found  also,  that  it  is  good 
for  the  stomach  ;  that  taken  with  vinegar,  it  dispels  flatulent 
eructations ;  that  applications  of  it  arrest  fluxes  of  the  bowels  ; 
that  it  acts  as  a  diuretic,  and  that  in  this  way  it  is  good  for 
jaundice  and  dropsy,  as  well  as  cholera  and  looseness  of  the 

Hence  it  is  that  Philistio  has  prescribed  it  even  for  cceliac 
affections,  and  boiled,  for  dysentery.  Some  persons,  too, 
though  contrary  to  the  opinion  of  Plistonicus,  have  given  it 
in  wine  for  tenesmus  and  spitting  of  blood,  as  also  for  ob- 
structions of  the  viscera.  It  is  employed,  too,  as  a  liniment 
for  the  mamillae,  and  has  the  effect  of  arresting  the  secretion 
of  the  milk.  It  is  very  good  also  for  the  ears  of  infants,  when 
applied  with  goose-grease  more  particularly.  The  seed  of  it,, 
beaten  up,  and  inhaled  into  the  nostrils,  is  provocative  of 
sneezing,  and  applied  as  a  liniment  to  the  head,  of  running 
at  the  nostrils :  taken  in  the  food,  too,  with  vinegar,  it  purges 
the  uterus.  Mixed  with  copperas38  it  removes  warts.  It  acts/ 
also,  as  an  aphrodisiac,  for  which  reason  it  is  given  to  horses 
and  asses  at  the  season  for  covering. 

(13.)  Wild  ocimum  has  exactly  the  same  properties  in  every 
respect,  though  in  a  more  active  degree.  It  is  particularly 
good,  too,  for  the  various  affections  produced  by  excessive  vo- 
miting, and  for  abscesses  of  the  womb.  The  root,  mixed  with 
wine,  is  extremely  efficacious  for  bites  inflicted  by  wild 


The  seed  of  rocket39  is  remedial  for  the  venom  of  the  scor- 
pion and  the  shrew-mouse  :  it  repels,  too,  all  parasitical  in- 
sects which  breed  on  the  human  body,  and  applied  to  the  face, 
as  a  liniment,  with  honey,  removes40  spots  upon  the  skin. 
Used  with  vinegar,  too,  it  is  a  cure  for  freckles  ;  and  mixed 
with  ox-gall  it  restores  the  livid  marks  left  by  wounds  to  their 

38  "  Atramento  sutorio.'' 
29  The  Brassica  eruca  of  Linnaeus. 

40  None  of  the  numerous  remedies  mentioned  by  Pliny  for  removing 
spots  on  the  skin,  are  at  all  efficacious,  in  Fee's  opinion. 

Chap.  50.]  NASTUllTIUM,  251 

natural  colour.  It  is  said  that  if  this  plant  is  taken  in  wine 
by  persons  who  are  about  to  undergo  a  flogging,  it  will  impart 
a  certain  degree  of  insensibility  to  the  body:  So  agreeable  is 
its  flavour  as  a  savouring  for  food,  that  the  Greeks  have  given 
it  the  name  of  "  euzonion."41  It  is  generally  thought  that 
rocket,  lightly  bruised,  and  employed  as  a  fomentation  for  the 
eyes,  will  restore  the  sight  to  its  original  goodness,  and  that 
it  allays  coughs  in  young  infants.  The  root  of  it,  boiled  in 
water,  has  the  property  of  extracting  the  splinters  of  broken 

As  to  the  properties  of  rocket  as  an  aphrodisiac,  we  have 
mentioned  them  already.42  Three  leaves  of  wild  rocket 
plucked  with  the  left  hand,  beaten  up  in  hydromel,  and  then 
taken  in  drink,  are  productive  of  a  similar  effect. 


Nasturtium,43  on  the  other  hand,  is  an  antiaphrodisiac  ;44  it 
has  the  effect  also  of  sharpening  the  senses,  as  already  stated.45 
There  are  two 46  varieties  of  this  plant :  one  of  them  is  pur- 
gative, and,  taken  in  doses  of  one  denarius  to  seven  of  water, 
carries  off  the  bilious  secretions.  Applied  as  a  liniment  to 
scrofulous  sores,  with  bean-meal,  and  then  covered  with  a 
cabbage-leaf,  it  is  a  most  excellent  remedy.  The  other  kind, 
which  is  darker  than  the  first,  has  the  effect  of  carrying  off 
vicious  humours  of  the  head,  and  sharpening  the  sight :  taken 
in  vinegar  it  calms  the  troubled  spirits,  and,  drunk  with  wine 
or  taken  in  a  fig,  it  is  good  for  affections  of  the  spleen  ;  taken 
in  honey,  too,  fasting  daily,  it  is  good  for  a  cough.  The  seed 
of  it,  taken  in  wine,  expels  all  kinds  of  intestinal  worms,  and 
with  the  addition  of  wild  mint,  it  acts  more  efficaciously 
still.  It  is  good,  too,  for  asthma  and  cough,  in  combina- 
tion with  wild  marjoram  and  sweet  wine ;  and  a  decoction  of 
it  in  goats'  milk  is  used  for  pains  in  the  chest.  Mixed  with 

41  "  Good  for  sauces."  43  In  B.  xix.  c.  44. 

43  The  Lepidium  sativum  of  Linnaeus,  cresses  or  nose-smart. 

44  This  opinion  is  corroborated  by  Dioscorides,  B.  ii.  c.  185,  and  confirmed 
by  the  author  of  the  Geoponica,  B.  xii.  c.  27.     Fee  inclines  to  the  opinion 
of  Dioscorides,  and  states  that  is  highly  antiscorbutic. 

«  In  B.  xix,  c.  44. 

46  The  two  varieties,  the  white  and  the  black,  are  no  longer  distin- 
guished. The  only  variety  now  recognized,  Fee  says,  is  that  with  crisped 


pitch  it  disperses  tumours,  and  extracts  thorns  from  the  body ; 
and,  employed  as  a  liniment,  with  vinegar,  it  removes  spots 
upon  the  body.  "When  used  for  the  cure  of  carcinoma,  white 
of  eggs  is  added  to  it.  With  vinegar  it  is  employed  also  as 
a  liniment  for  affections  of  the  spleen,  and  with  honey  it  is 
found  to  be  very  useful  for  the  complaints  of  infants. 

Sextius  adds,  that  the  smell  of  burnt  nasturtium  drives 
away  serpents,  neutralizes  the  venom  of  scorpions,  and  gives 
relief  in  head-ache;  with  the  addition  too,  of  mustard,  he  says, 
it  is  a  cure  for  alopecy,  and  applied  to  the  ears  with  a  fig,  it 
is  a  remedy  for  hardness  of  hearing.  The  juice  of  it,  he  says, 
if  injected  into  the  ears,  will  effect  the  cure  of  tooth-ache,  and 
employed  with  goose-grease  it  is  a  remedy  for  porrigo  and 
ulcerous  sores  of  the  head.  Applied  with  leaven  it  brings 
boils47  to  a  head,  and  makes  carbuncles  suppurate  and  break  : 
used  with  honey,  too,  it  is  good  for  cleansing  phagedaDaic 
ulcers.  Topical  applications  are  made  of  it,  combined  with 
vinegar  and  polenta,  in  cases  of  sciatica  aud  lumbago :  it  is 
similarly  employed,  too,  for  lichens  and  malformed 48  nails, 
its  qualities  being  naturally  caustic.  The  best  nasturtium  of 
all  is  that  of  Babylonia;  the  wild49  variety  possesses  the  same 
qualities  as  the  cultivated  in  every  respect,  but  in  a  more 
powerful  degree. 


One  of  the  most  active,  however,  of  all  the  medicinal 
plants,  is  rue.50  The  cultivated  kind  has  broader  leaves  and 
more  numerous  branches  than  the  other.  Wild  rue  is  more 
violent  in  its  effects,  and  more  active  in  every  respect.  The 
juice  of  it  is  extracted  by  beating  it  up,  and  moistening  it 
moderately  with  water ;  after  which  it  is  kept  for  use  in 

47  «  Furunculos."     Gangrenous  sores,  probably. 

48  "Unguibus  scabris,"  i.  e.  for  tbe  removal  of  malformed  nails,  with 
the  view  to  the  improvement  of  their  appearance. 

49  The  Lepidium  Iberis  of  Linnaeus,  Fee  thinks. 

60  The  Ruta  graveolens  of  Linnaeus.  The  Romans,  singularly  enough, 
valued  this  offensive  plant  as  a  condiment  for  their  dishes,  and  a  seasoning 
for  their  wines. — See  B.  xiv.  c.  19  :  and  at  the  present  day  even,  it  is  ad- 
mired for  its  smell,  Fee  says,  by  the  ladies  of  Naples.  The  Italians  use 
it  also  for  their  salads.  Its  smell  is  thought  to  prevent  infection,  for  which 
reason  it  is  still  used,  in  country-places,  at  funerals,  and  is  placed  before 
prisoners  when  tried  criminally,  for  the  prevention,  it  is  said,  of  gaol  fever. 

Chap,  51.]  SUE.  253 

boxes  of  Cyprian  copper.  Given  in  large  doses,  this  juice  has 
all  the  baneful  effects  of  poison,51  and  that  of  Macedonia  more 
particularly,  which  grows  on  the  banks  of  the  river  Aliac- 
mon.62  It  is  a  truly  wonderful  thing,  but  the  juice  of  hemlock 
has  the  property  of  neutralizing  its  effects.  Thus  do  we  find 
one  thing  acting  as  the  poison  of  another  poison,  for  the  juice 
of  hemlock  is  very  beneficial,  rubbed  upon  the  hands  and 
[face]53  of  persons  employed  in  gathering  rue. 

In  other  respectsj  rue  is  one  of  the  principal  ingredients 
employed  in  antidotes,  that  of  Galatia  more  particularly. 
Every  species  of  rue,  employed  by  itself,  has  the  effect  also  of 
an  antidote,  if  the  leaves  are  bruised  and  taken  in  wine.  It 
is  good  more  particularly  in  cases  of  poisoning  by  wolf  sbane54 
and  mistletoe,  as  well  as  by  fungi,  whether  administered  in  the 
drink  or  the  food.  Employed  in  a  similar  manner,  it  is  good 
for  the  stings  of  serpents  ;  so  much  so,  in  fact,  that  weasels,64 
when  about  to  attack  them,  take  the  precaution  first  of  pro- 
tecting themselves  by  eating  rue.  Eue  is  good,  too,  for  the 
injuries  by  scorpions  and  spiders,  the  stings  of  bees,  hornets, 
and  wasps,  the  noxious  effects  produced  by  cantharides  and 
salamanders,56  and  the  bites  of  mad  dogs.  The  juice  is  taken 
in  doses  of  one  acetabulum,  in  wine ;  and  the  leaves,  beaten 
up  or  else  chewed,  are  applied  topically,  with  honey  and 
salt,  or  boiled  with  vinegar  and  pitch.  It  is  said  that  people 
rubbed  with  the  juice  of  rue,  or  even  having  it  on  their  per- 
son, are  never  attacked  by  these  noxious  creatures,  and  that 
serpents  are  driven  away  by  the  stench  of  burning  rue.  The 
most  efficacious,  however,  of  all,  is  the  root  of  wild  rue,  taken 
with  wine ;  this  too,  it  is  said,  is  more  beneficial  still,  if 
drunk  in  the  open  air. 

Pythagoras  has  distinguished  this  plant  also  into  male  and 

31  It  is  not  the  rue  that  has  this  effect,  so  much  as  the  salts  of  copper 
which  are  formed. 

62  Fee  thinks  it  not  likely  that  the  rue  grown  here  was  at  all  superior 
to  that  of  other  localities. 

63  This  word,  omitted  in  the  text,  is  supplied  from  Dioscorrdes. 

54  Or  aconite.     There  is  no  truth  whatever  in  these  assertions,  that  rue 
has  the  effect  of  neutralizing  the  effects  of  hemlock,  henhane,  or  poisonous 
fungi.     Boerrhave  says  that  he  employed  rue  successfully  in  cases  of  hyste- 
ria and  epilepsy  ;  and  it  is  an  opinion  which  originated  with  Hippocrates, 
and  is  still  pretty  generally  entertained,  that  it  promotes  the  catamema. 

55  See  B.  viii.  c.  40.  x  See  B.  x.  c.  86. 


female,  the  former  having  smaller  leaves  than  the  other,  and 
of  a  grass-green  colour ;  the  female  plant,  he  says,  has  leaves 
of  a  larger  size  and  a  more  vivid  hue.  The  same  author ,  too, 
has  considered  rue  to  be  injurious  to  the  eyes  ;  but  this  is  an 
error,  for  engravers  and  painters  are  in  the  habit  of  eating  it 
with  bread,  or  else  nasturtium,  for  the  benefit  of  the  sight ; 
wild  goats,  too,  eat  it  for  the  sight,  they  say.  Many  persons 
have  dispersed  films  on  the  eyes  by  rubbing  them  with  a  mix- 
ture of  the  juice  of  rue  with  Attic  honey,  or  the  milk  of  a 
woman  just  delivered  of  a  male  child  :  the  same  result  has 
been  produced  also  by  touching  the  corners  of  the  eyes  with 
the  pure  juice  of  the  plant.  Applied  topically,  with  polenta, 
rue  carries  off  defluxions  of  the  eyes ;  and,  taken  with  wine, 
or  applied  topically  with  vinegar  and  rose  oil,  it  is  a  cure  for 
head- ache.  If,  however,  the  pain  attacks  the  whole  of  the 
head,67  the  rue  should  be  applied  with  barley-meal  and  vin- 
egar. This  plant  has  the  effect  also  of  dispelling  crudities, 
flatulency,  and  inveterate  pains  of  the  stomach ;  it  opens  the 
uterus,  too,  and  restores  it  when  displaced ;  for  which  purpose 
it  is  applied  as  a  liniment,  with  honey,  to  the  whole  of  the" 
abdomen  and  chest.  Mixed  with  figs,  and  boiled  down  to 
one  half,  it  is  administered  in  wine  for  dropsy ;  and  it  is  taken 
in  a  similar  manner  for  pains  of  the  chest,  sides,  and  loins,  as 
well  as  for  coughs,  asthma,  and  affections  of  the  lungs,  liver,  and 
kidneys,  and  for  shivering  fits.  Persons  about  to  indulge  in 
wine,  take  a  decoction  of  the  leaves,  to  prevent  head-ache  and 
surfeit.  Taken  in  food,  too,  it  is  wholesome,  whether  eaten 
raw  or  boiled,  or  used  as  a  confection  ;  boiled  with  hyssop, 
and  taken  with  wine,  it  is  good  for  gripings  of  the  stomach. 
Employed  in  the  same  way,  it  arrests  internal  haemorrhage, 
and,  applied  to  the  nostrils,  bleeding  at  the  nose  :  it  is  beneficial 
also  to  the  teeth  if  rinsed  with  it.  In  cases  of  ear-ache,  this 
juice  is  injected  into  the  ears,  care  being  taken  to  moderate 
the  dose,  as  already  stated,  if  wild  rue  is  employed.  Eor 
hardness  of  hearing,  too,  and  singing  in  the  ears,  it  is  simi- 
larly employed  in  combination  with  oil  of  roses,  or  oil  of  laurel, 
or  else  cummin  and  honey. 

Juice  of  rue  pounded  in  vinegar,  is  applied  also  to  the 
temples  and  the  region  of  the  brain  in  persons  affected  with 
phrenitis;  some  persons,  however,  have  added  to  this  mixture 

57  "Si  vero  sit  cephulaea." 

Chap.  51.  ^E-  255 

wild  thyrne  and  laurel  leaves,  rubbing  the  head  and  neck  as 
well  with  the  liniment.  It  has  been  given  in  vinegar  to 
lethargic  patients  to  smell  at,  and  a  decoction  of  it  is  admi- 
nistered for  epilepsy,  in  doses  of  four  cyathi,  as  also  just  be- 
fore the  attacks  in  fever  of  intolerable  chills.  It  is  likewise 
given  raw  to  persons  for  shivering  fits  Hue  is  a  provoca- 
tive58 of  the  urine  to  bleeding  even  :  it  promotes  the  men- 
strual discharge,  also,  and  brings  away  the  after-birth,  as 
well  as  the  dead  foetus  even,  according  to  Hippocrates,59 
taken  in  sweet  red  wine.  The  same  author,  also,  recommends 
applications  of  it,  as  well  as  fumigations,  for  affections  of  the 

For  cardiac  diseases,  Diocles  prescribes  applications  ot  rue, 
in  combination  with  vinegar,  honey,  and  barley-meal  :  and 
for  the  iliac  passion,  he  says  that  it  should  be  mixed  with 
meal,  boiled  in  oil,  and  spread  upon  the  wool  of  a  sheep's 
fleece.  Many  persons  recommend,  for  purulent  expectorations, 
two  drachmas  of  dried  rue  to  one  and  a  half  of  sulphur ;  and, 
for  spitting  of  blood,  a  decoction  of  three  sprigs  in  wine.  It  is 
given  also  in  dysentery,  with  cheese,  the  rue  being  first  beaten 
up  in  wine  ;  and  it  has  been  prescribed,  pounded  with  bitumen, 
as  a  potion  for  habitual  shortness  of  breath.  For  persons  suf- 
fering from  violent  falls,  three  ounces  of  the  seed  is  recom- 
mended. A  pound  of  oil,  in  which  rue  leaves  have  been 
boiled  added  to  one  sextarius  of  wine,  forms  a  liniment  for 
parts  of  the  body  which  are  frost-bitten.  If  rue  really  is  a 
diuretic,  as  Hippocrates60  thinks,  it  is  a  singular  thing  that 
some  persons  should  give  it,  as  being  an  anti- diuretic,  for  the 
suppression  of  incontinence  of  urine. 

Applied  topically,  with  honey  and  alum,  it  cures  itch-scabs, 
and  leprous  sores ;  and,  in  combination  with  nightshade  and 
hogs'-lard,  or  beef-suet,  it  is  good  for  morphew,  warts,  scrofula, 
and  maladies  of  a  similar  nature.  Used  with  vinegar  and  oil, 
or  else  white  lead,  it  is  good  for  erysipelas ;  and,  applied  with 
vinegar,  for  carbuncles.  Some  persons  prescribe  silphmm 
also  as  an  ingredient  in  the  liniment ;  but  it  is  not  employed 
by  them  for  the  cure  of  the  pustules  known  as  epinyctis. 
Boiled  rue  is  recommended,  also,  as  a  cataplasm  for  swellings 

58  Dioscorides  says  however,  B.  iii.  c.  52,  that  it  arrests  incontinence 
of  the  urine.  See  below. 

"  De  Morb.  Mul.  B.  i.  c.  128.  w  De  Diaeta,  B.  11.  c.  26. 

256  (     PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.  [Book  XX. 

of  the  mamillae,  and,  combined  with  wax,  for  eruptions  of 
pituitous  matter.61  It  is  applied  with  tender  sprigs  of  laurel,  in 
cases  of  defhixion  of  the  testes ;  and  it  exercises  so  peculiar  an 
effect  upon  those  organs,  that  old  rue,  it  is  said,  employed  in 
a  liniment,  with  axle-grease,  is  a  cure  for  hernia.  The 
seed  pounded,  and  applied  with  wax,  is  remedial  also  for 
broken  limbs.  The  root  of  this  plant,  applied  topically,  is  a 
cure  for  effusion  of  blood  in  the  eyes,  and,  employed  as  a  lini- 
ment, it  removes  scars  or  spots  on  all  parts  of  the  body. 

Among  the  other  properties  which  are  attributed  to  rue,  it 
is  a  singular  fact,  that,  though  it  is  universally  agreed  that  it 
is  hot  by  nature,  a  bunch  of  it,  boiled  in  rose-oil,  with  the 
addition  of  an  ounce  of  aloes,  has  the  effect  of  checking  the 
perspiration  in  those  who  rub  themselves  with  it ;  and  that, 
used  as  an  aliment,  it  impedes  the  generative  functions. 
Hence  it  is,  that  it  is  so  often  given  in  cases  of  spermatorrhoBa, 
and  where  persons  are  subject  to  lascivious  dreams.  Every  pre- 
caution should  be  taken  by  pregnant  women  to  abstain  from 
rue  as  an  article  of  diet,  for  I  find  it  stated  that  it  is  productive 
of  fatal  results  to  the  foetus.62 

Of  all  the  plants  that  are  grown,  rue  is  the  one  that  is  most 
generally  employed  for  the  maladies  of  cattle,  whether  arising 
from  difficulty  of  respiration,  or  from  the  stings  of  noxious 
creatures — in  which  cases  it  is  injected  with  wine  into  the 
nostrils — or  whether  they  may  happen  to  have  swallowed  a 
horse-leech,  under  which  circumstances  it  is  administered  in 
vinegar.  In  all  other  maladies  of  cattle,  the  rue  is  prepared 
just  as  for  man  in  a  similar  case. 

CHAP.  52.  (14.) WILD  MINT  I    TWENTY   KEMEDIES. 

Mentastrum,  or  wild  mint,63  differs  from  the  other  kind  in 
the  appearance  of  the  leaves,  which  have  the  form  of  those  of 
ocimum  and  the  colour  of  pennyroyal ;  for  which  reason,  some 
persons,  in  fact,  give  it  the  name  of  wild  pennyroyal.64  The 
leaves  of  this  plant,  chewed  and  applied  topically,  are  a  cure 
for  elephantiasis ;  a  discovery  which  was  accidentally  made  in 

61  "  Pituitae  eruptionibus." 

62  This  prejudice,  Fee  says,  still  survives. 

63  The  Menta  silvestris  of  Linnaeus  ;  though  Clusius  was  of  opinion  that 
it  is  the  Nepeta  tuberosa  of  Linnaeus. 

64  "  Silrestre  puleium." 

Chap.  53.]  MINT.  257 

the  time  of  Pompeius  Magnus,  by  a  person  affected  with  this 
malady  covering  his  face  with  the  leaves  for  the  purpose  of 
neutralizing  the  bad  smell  that  arose  therefrom.  These  leaves 
are  employed  also  as  a  liniment,  and  in  drink,  with  a  mixture 
of  salt,  oil,  and  vinegar,  for  the  stings  of  scorpions ;  and,  in 
doses  of  two  drachmae  to  two  cyathi  of  wine,  for  those  of  sco- 
lopendiae  and  serpents.  A  decoction,  too,  of  the  juice  is  given 
for  the  sting  of  the  scolopendra.65  Leaves  of  wild  mint  are 
kept,  dried  and  reduced  to  a  fine  powder,  as  a  remedy  for 
poisons  of  every  description.  Spread  on  the  ground  or  burnt, 
this  plant  has  the  effect  of  driving  away  scorpions. 

Taken  in  drink,  wild  mint  carries  off  the  lochia  in  females 
after  parturition  ;  but,  if  taken  before,  it  is  fatal  to  the  foetus. 
It  is  extremely  efficacious  in  cases  of  rupture  and  convulsions, 
and,  though  in  a  somewhat  less  degree,  for  orthopncea,66  gripings 
of  the  bowels,  and  cholera :  it  is  good,  too,  as  a  topical  appli- 
cation for  lumbago  and  gout.  The  juice  of  it  is  injected  into 
the  ears  for  worms  breeding  there  ;  it  is  taken  also  for  jaun- 
dice, and  is  employed  in  liniments  for  scrofulous  sores.  It 
prevents67  the  recurrence  of  lascivious  dreams  ;  and  taken  in 
vinegar,  it  expels  tape- worm.68  For  the  cure  of  porrigo,  it  is 
put  in  vinegar,  and  the  head  is  washed  with  the  mixture  in 
the  sun. 


The  very  smell  of  mint69  reanimates  the  spirits,  and  its 
flavour  gives  a  remarkable  zest  to  food :  hence  it  is  that  it  is 
so  generally  an  ingredient  in  our  sauces.  It  has  the  effect  of 
preventing  milk  from  turning  sour,  or  curdling  and  thickening ; 
hence  it  is  that  it  is  so  generally  put  into  milk  used  for  drink- 
ing, to  prevent  any  danger  of  persons  being  choked70  by  it  in  a 

65  Galen  and  Dioscorides  say  the  same ;  but  it  is  not  the  fact;  the  leaves 
being  of  no  utility  whatever. 

66  Difficulty  of  breathing,  unless  the  neck  is  kept  in  a  straight  position. 

67  Fee  is  inclined  to  think  exactly  the  contrary. 

68  Its  properties  as  a  vermifuge  are  contested. 

69  According  to  ancient  fable," Mintha,  the  daughter  of  Cocytus,  and  he- 
loved  by  Pluto,  was  changed  by  Proserpine  into  this  plant :  it  was  gene- 
rally employed  also  in  the  mysteries  of  the  Greeks.     It  is  the  Mentha 
sativa  of  Linna?us. 

70  Fee  says  that  this  passage  alone  would  prove  pretty  clearly  that  Pliny 
had  no  idea'of  the  existence  of  the  gastric  juices. 

VOL.    IV.  S 

258  PLINl's   NATURAL    HISTORY.  [Book  XX. 

curdled  state.  It  is  administered  also  for  this  purpose  in 
water  or  honied  wine.  It  is  generally  thought,  too,  that  it  is 
in  consequence  of  this  property  that  it  impedes  generation,  by 
preventing  the  seminal  fluids  from  obtaining  the  requisite  con- 
sistency. In  males  as  well  as  females  it  arrests  bleeding,  and 
it  has  the  property,  with  the  latter,  of  suspending  the  men- 
strual discharge.  Taken  in  water,  with  amylum,71  it  prevents 
looseness  in  cceliac  complaints.  Syriation  employed  this  plant 
for  the  cure  of  abscesses  of  the  uterus,  and,  in  doses  of 
three  oboli,  with  honied  wine,  for  diseases  of  the  liver :  he 
prescribed  it  also,  in  pottage,  for  spitting  of  blood.  It  is  an 
admirable  remedy  for  ulceralions  of  the  head  in  children,  and 
has  the  effect  equally  of  drying  the  trachea  when  too  moist, 
and  of  bracing  it  when  too  dry.  Taken  in  honied  wine  and 
water,  it  carries  off  purulent  phlegm. 

The  juice  of  mint  is  good  for  the  voice  when  a  person  is 
about  to  engage  in  a  contest  of  eloquence,  but  only  when  taken^ 
just  before.  It  is  employed  also  with  milk  as  a  gargle  for 
swelling  of  the  uvula,  with  the  addition  of  rue  and  coriander. 
With  alum,  too,  it  is  good  for  the  tonsils  of  the  throat,  and,, 
mixed  with  honey,  for  roughness  of  the  tongue.  Employed? 
by  itself,  it  is  a  remedy  for  internal  convulsions  and  affections 
of  the  lungs.  Taken  with  pomegranate  juice,  as  Democrites 
tells  us,  it  arrests  hiccup  and  vomiting.  The  juice  of  mint 
fresh  gathered,  inhaled,  is  a  remedy  for  affections  of  the  nos- 
trils. Beaten  up  and  taken  in  vinegar,  mint  is  a  cure  for 
cholera,  and  for  internal  fluxes  of  blood  :  applied  externally, 
with  polenta,  it  is  remedial  for  the  iliac  passion  and  tension  of 
the  mamillse.  It  is  applied,  too,  as  a  liniment  to  the  temples 
for  head-ache ;  and  it  is  taken  internally,  as  an  antidote  for 
the  stings  of  scolopendrae,  sea- scorpions,  and  serpents.  As  a 
liniment  it  is  applied  also  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  and  all 
eruptions  of  the  head,  as  well  as  maladies  of  the  rectum. 

Mint  is  an  effectual  preventive,  too,  of  chafing  of  the  skin, 
even  if  held  in  the  hand  only.  In  combination  with  honied 
wine,  it  is  employed  as  an  injection  for  the  ears.  It  is  said, 
too,  that  this  plant  will  cure  affections  of  the  spleen,  if  tasted 
in  the  garden  nine  days  consecutively,  without  plucking  it,  the 
person  who  bites  it  saying  at  the  same  moment  that  he  does 
so  for  the  benefit  of  the  spleen :  and  that,  if  dried;  and  re- 
71  See  B.  xviii.  c.  17,  and  B.  xxii.  c.  67. 

Chap.  54.]  PENHYBOYAL.  259 

duced  to  powder,  a  pinch  of  it  with  three  fingers  taken  in 
water,  will  cure  stomach-ache.72  Sprinkled  in  this  form  in 
drink,  it  is  said  to  have  the  effect  of  expelling  intestinal 


Pennyroyal73  partakes  with  mint,  in  a  very  considerable 
degree,  the  property74  of  restoring  consciousness  in  fainting  fits ; 
slips  of  both  plants  being  kept  for  the  purpose  in  glass  bottles75 
filled  with  vinegar.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  Varro  has  de- 
clared that  a  wreath  of  pennyroyal  is  more  worthy  to  grace 
our  chambers76  than  a  chaplet  of  roses  :  indeed,  it  is  said  that, 
placed  upon  the  head,  it  materially  alleviates  head-ache.77 
It  is  generally  stated,  too,  that  the  smell  of  it  alone  will  pro- 
tect the  head  against  the  injurious  effects  of  cold  or  heat,  and 
that  it  acts  as  a  preventive  of  thirst ;  also,  that  persons  ex- 
posed to  the  sun,  if  they  carry  a  couple  of  sprigs  of  penny- 
royal behind  the  ears,  will  never  be  incommoded  by  the  heat. 
For  various  pains,  too,  it  is  employed  topically,  mixed  with 
polenta  and  vinegar. 

The  female78  plant  is  the  more  efficacious  of  the  two  ;  it  has 
a  purple  flower,  that  of  the  male  being  white.  Taken  in  cold 
water  with  salt  and  polenta  it  arrests  nausea,  as  well  as  pains 
of  the  chest  and  abdomen.  Taken,  too,  in  water,  it  prevents 
gnawing  pains  of  the  stomach,  and,  with  vinegar  and  polenta, 
it  arrests  vomiting.  In  combination  with  salt  and  vinegar, 
and  polenta,  it  loosens  the  bowels.  Taken  with  boiled  honey 
and  nitre,  it  is  a  cure  for  intestinal  complaints.  Employed 

72  It  is  only  in  this  case  and  the  next,  Fee  says,  that  modern  experience 
agrees  with  our  author  as  to  the  efficacy  of  mint. 

73  The  Menta  pulegium  of  Linnaeus. 

74  Its  medicinal  properties  are  similar  to  those  of  mint ;  which  is  a  good 
stomachic,  and  is  useful  for  hysterical  and  hypochondriac  affections,  as  well 
as  head-ache.     We  may  therefore  know  how  far  to  appreciate  the  medi- 
cinal virtues  ascribed  by  Pliny  to  these  plants. 

75  "Ampullas." 

76  "Cubiculis:"    "  sleeping-chambers."       It  was  very  generally  the 
practice  among  the  ancients  to  keep  odoriferous  plants  in  their  bed-rooms ; 
a  dangerous  practice,  now  held  in  pretty  general  disesteem. 

77  Strong  odours,  as  Fee  remarks,  are  not  generally  beneficial  for  head- 

79  Dioscorides  makes  no  such  distinction,  and  botanically  speaking,  as 
Fee  observes,  this  distinction  is  faulty. 

S  2 


with  wine  it  is  a  diuretic,  and  if  the  wine  is  the  produce 
of  the  Aminean79  grape,  it  has  the  additional  effect  of  dispersing 
calculi  of  the  Madder  and  removing  all  internal  pains.  Taken 
in  conjunction  with  honey  and  vinegar,  it  modifies  the  men- 
strual discharge,  and  brings  away  the  after-birth,  restores  the 
uterus,  when  displaced,  to  its  natural  position,  and  expels  the 
dead80  foetus.  The  seed  is  given  to  persons  to  smell  at,  who 
have  been  suddenly  struck  dumb,  and  is  prescribed  for  epi- 
leptic patients  in  doses  of  one  cyathus,  taken  in  vinegar.  If 
water  is  found  unwholesome  for  drinking,  bruised  pennyroyal 
should  be  sprinkled  in  it ;  taken  with  wine  it  modifies  acri- 
dities81 of  the  body. 

Mixed  with  salt,  it  is  employed  as  a  friction  for  the  sinews, 
and  with  honey  and  vinegar,  in  cases  of  opisthotony .  Decoctions 
of  it  are  prescribed  as  a  drink  for  persons  stung  by  serpents ;  and, 
beaten  up  in  wine,  it  is  employed  for  the  stings  of  scorpions, 
that  which  grows  in  a  dry  soil  in  particular.  This  plant  is 
looked  upon  as  efficacious  also  for  ulcerations  of  the  mouth, 
and  for  coughs.  The  blossom  of  it,  fresh  gathered,  and  burnt, 
kills  fleas82  by  its  smell.  Xenocrates,  among  the  other  reme- 
dies which  he  mentions,  says  that  in  tertian  fevers,  a  sprig  of 
pennyroyal,  wrapped  in  wool,  should  be  given  to  the  patient 
to  smell  at,  just  before  the  fit  comes  on,  or  else  it  should  be 
put  under  the  bed-clothes  and  laid  by  the  patient's  side. 


Tor  all  the  purposes  already  mentioned,  wild  pennyroyal83 
has  exactly  the  same  properties,  but  in  a  still  higher  degree. 
It  bears  a  strong  resemblance  to  wild  marjoram,84  and  has  a, 
smaller  leaf  than  the  cultivated  kind :  by  some  persons  it  is 
known  as  "  dictamnos."85  When  browsed  upon  by  sheep  and 
goats,  it  makes  them  bleat,  for  which  reason,  some  of  the 

so  "Defunctos  partus"  is  certainly  a  better  reading  than  "  defunctis 
partus,"  though  the  latter  is  the  one  adopted  by  Sillig. 

81  "  Salsitudines."  Hardouin  is  probably  right  m  his  conjecture,  that 
the  correct  reading  is  "  lassitudines,"  "  lassitude."  _ 

^  "  Pulices."  It  is  to  this  belief,  no  doubt,  that  it  owes  its  Latin  name 
"pulegium,"  and  its  English  appellation,  "  flea-bane." 

*3  It  differs  in  no  respect  whatever  from  the  cultivated  kind,  except  that 
the  leaves  of  the  latter  are  somewhat  larger. 

si  Or  origanum.  85  Whence  our  name  "  dittany. 

Chap.  56.]  NEP.  261 

Greeks,  changing  a  single  letter  in  its  name,  have  called  it 
"  blechon,"86  [instead  of  "glechon."] 

This  plant  is  naturally  so  heating  as  to  blister  the  parts  cf  the 
body  to  which  it  is  applied.  For  a  cough  which  results  from 
a  chill,  it  is  a  good  plan  for  the  patient  to  rub  himself  with  it 
before  taking  the  bath  ;  it  is  similarly  employed,  too,  in  shiver- 
ing fits,  just  before  the  attacks  come  on,  and  for  convulsions 
and  gripings  of  the  stomach.  It  is  also  remarkably  good  for 
the  gout. 

To  persons  afflicted  with  spasms,  this  plant  is  administered 
in  drink,  in  combination  with  honey  and  salt  ;  and  it  renders 
expectoration  easy  in  affections  of  the  lungs.87  Taken  with 
salt  it  is  beneficial  for  the  spleen  and  bladder,  and  is  cura- 
tive of  asthma  and  flatulency.  A  decoction  of  it  is  equally 
as  good  as  the  juice  :  it  restores  the  uterus  when  displaced,  and 
is  prescribed  for  the  sting  of  either  the  land  or  the  sea  scolopen- 
dra,  as  well  as  the  scorpion.  It  is  particularly  good,  too,  for 
bites  inflicted  by  a  human  being.  The  root  of  it,  newly  taken 
up,  is  extremely  efficacious  for  corroding  ulcers,  and  in  a  dried 
state  tends  to  efface  the  deformities  produced  by  scars. 

CHAP.  56.  —  NEP  :    NINE  REMEDIES. 

Kep88  has  also  some  affinity  in  its  effects  with  pennyroyal. 
Boiled  down  in  water  to  one  third,  these  plants  dispel  sudden 
chills  :  they  promote  the  menstrual  discharge  also  in  females, 
and  allay  excessive  heats  in  summer.  Nep  possesses  certain 
virtues  against  the  stings  of  serpents  ;  at  the  very  smoke  and 
smell  of  it  they  will  instantly  take  to  flight,  and  persons  who  have 
to  sleep  in  places  where  they  are  apprehensive  of  them,  will  do 
well  to  place  it  beneath  them.  Bruised,  it  is  employed  to- 
pically for  lacrymal  fistulas89  of  the  eye  :  fresh  gathered  and 

86  The  "  bleating  plant  ;"  from  pXrjxdopat,  fl  to  bleat."     Dioscorides, 
B.  ii.  c.  36,  says  the  same  of  cultivated  pennyroyal. 

87  "Pulmonum  vitia  exscreabilia  facit." 

88  Or  *'  catmint;"  the  variety  "  longifolia,"  Fee  thinks,  of  the  Menta 
silvestris  of  Linnaeu^s  ;  or  else  the  Melissa  altissima  of  Sibthorp.    Sprengel 
identifies  it  with  the  Thymus  Barrelieri,  the  Melissa  Cretica  of  Linneeus. 
Dioscorides,  B.  iii.  c.  42,  identifies  the  "  Calamintha  "  of  the  Greeks  with 
the  Nepeta  of  the  Romans.    The  medicinal  properties  of  Nep,  or  catmint, 
are  the  same  as  those  of  the  other  mints. 

89  "  JEgilopiis." 


mixed  in  vinegar  with  one  third  part  of  bread,  it  is  applied 
as  a  liniment  for  head-ache.  The  juice  of  it,  injected  into 
the  nostrils,  with  the  head  thrown  back,  arrests  bleeding  at 
the  nose,  and  the  root  has  a  similar  effect.  This  last  is  em- 
ployed also,  with  myrtle- seed,  in  warm  raisin  wine,  as  a  gargle 
for  the  cure  of  quinsy. 


Wild  cummin  is  a  remarkably  slender  plant,  consisting  of 
four  or  five  leaves  indented  like  a  saw ;  like  the  cultivated  *° 
kind,  it  is  much  employed  in  medicine,  among  the  stomachic 
remedies  more  particularly.  Bruised  and  taken  with  bread, 
or  else  drunk  in  wine  and  water,  it  dispels  phlegm  and  flatu- 
lency, as  well  as  gripirjgs  of  the  bowels  and  pains  in  the  intes- 
tines. Both  varieties  have  the  effect,  however,  of  produciog 
paleness91  in  those  who  drink  these  mixtures ;  at  all  events,  it 
is  generally  stated  that  the  disciples  of  Porcius  Latro,92  so  cele- 
brated among  the  professors  of  eloquence,  used  to  employ  this 
drink  for  the  purpose  of  imitating  the  paleness  which  had  been 
contracted  by  their  master,  through  the  intensity  of  his  studies : 
and  that  Julius  Yindex,93  in  more  recent  times,  that  assertor 
of  our  liberties  against  Nero,  adopted  this  method  of  playing 
upon 91  those  who  were  looking  out  for  a  place  in  his  will. 
Applied  in  the  form  of  lozenges,  or  fresh  with  vinegar,  cummin 
has  the  effect  of  arresting  bleeding  at  the  nose,  and  used  by 

90  Cummin  is  the  Cuminum  cyminum  of  Linnaeus.     The  seed  only  is 
used,  and  that  but  rarely,  for  medicinal  purposes,  being  a  strong  excitant 
and  a  carminative,    in  Germany,  and  Turkey,  and  other  parts  of  the  East, 
cummin- seed  is  esteemed  as  a  condiment. 

91  Horace,  B.  i.  Epist.  19,  says  the  same;  but  in  reality  cummin  pro- 
duces no  such  effect. 

93  M.  Porcius  Latro,  a  celebrated  rhetorician  of  the  reign  of  Augustus, 
a  Spaniard  by  birth,  and  a  friend  and  contemporary  of  the  elder  Seneca. 
His  school  was  one  of  the  most  frequented  at  Rome,  and  he  numbered 
among  his  scholars  the  poet  Ovid.  He  died  B.C.  4. 

93  The  son  of  a  Roman  senator,  but  descended  from  a  noble  family  in 
Aquitanian  Gaul.    When  propraetor  of  Gallia  Celtica,  he  headed  a  revolt 
against  Nero  ;    but  being  opposed  by  Virginius  Rufus,  he  slew  himself  at 
the  town  of  Vesontio,  now  Besanc,on. 

94  "  Captation!"     is    suggested   by  Sillig  as  a  preferable  reading  to 
"  captatione,"  which  last  would  imply  that  it  was  Vindex  himself  who 
sought  a  place  by  this  artifice,  in  the  wills  of  others. 

Chap.  58.]  AMMI.  263 

itself,  it  is  good  for  dcfluxions  of  the  eyes.  Combined  with 
honey,  it  is  used  also  for  swellings  of  the  eyes.  With  children 
of  tender  age,  it  is  sufficient  to  apply  it  to  the  abdomen.  In 
cases  of  jaundice,  it  is  administered  in  white  wine,  immediately 
after  taking  the  bath. 

(15.)  The  cummin  of  Ethiopia,95  more  particularly, .is  given 
in  vinegar  and  water,  or  else  as  an  electuary  with  honey.  It 
is  thought,  too,  that  the  cummin  of  Africa  has  the  peculiar 
property  of  arresting  incontinence  of  urine.  The  cultivated 
plant  is  given,  parched  and  beaten  up  in  vinegar,  for  affections 
of  the  liver,  as  also  for  vertigo.  Beaten  up  in  sweet  wine,  it 
is  taken  in  cases,  also,  where  the  urine  is  too  acrid ;  and  for 
affections  of  the  uterus,  it  is  administered  in  wine,  the  leaves 
of  it  being  employed  topically  as  well,  in  layers  of  wool. 
Parched  and  beaten  up  with  honey,  it  is  used  as  an  application 
for  swellings  of  the  testes,  or  else  with  rose  oil  and  wax. 

Tor  all  the  purposes  above-mentioned,  wild  cummin  %  is  more 
efficacious  than  cultivated ;  as  also,  in  combination  with  oil, 
for  the  stings  of  serpents,  scorpions,  and  scolopendrse.  A  pinch 
of  it  with  three  fingers,  taken  in  wine,  has  the  effect  of  arrest- 
ing vomiting  and  nausea ;  it  is  used,  too,  both  as  a  drink  and 
a  liniment  for  the  colic,  or  else  it  is  applied  hot,  in  dossils  of 
lint,97  to  the  part  affected,  bandages  being  employed  to  keep  it 
in  its  place.  Taken  in  wine,  it  dispels  hysterical  affections, 
the  proportions  being  three  drachmae  of  cummin  to  three  cyathi 
of  wine.  It  is  used  as  an  injection,  too,  for  the  ears,  when 
affected  with  tingling  and  singing,  being  mixed  for  the  purpose 
with  veal  suet  or  honey.  For  contusions,  it  is  applied  as  a 
liniment,  with  honey,  raisins,  and  vinegar,  and  for  dark  freckles 
on  the  skin  with  vinegar. 

There  is  another  plant,  which  bears  a  very  strong  resem- 

95  There  would  be  but  little  difference,  Fee  observes,  between  this  and 
the  cummin  of  other   countries,  as  it  is  a  plant  in  which  little  change  is 
effected  by  cultivation.     Dioscorides,  B.  iii.  c.  79,  says  that  the  cumram 
of   ^Ethiopia  (by  Hippocrates  called    "royal  cummin")    has  a  sweeter 
smell  than  the  other  kinds. 

96  Fee  is  inclined  to  identify  wild  cummin,  from  the  description  or  i 
given  by  Dioscorides,  with  the  Delphinium  consolida  of  Linn&us;  but  at 
the  same  time,  he  says,  it  is  impossible  to  speak  positively  on  the  subject. 

9"  "  Penicillis." 


blance  to  cummin,  known  to  the  Greeks  as  "  ammi ;"  98  some 
persons  are  of  opinion,  that  it  is  the  same  as  the  ^Ethiopian 
cummin.  Hippocrates  gives  it"  the  epithet  of  "  royal ;"  no 
doubt,  because  he  looks  upon  it  as  possessed  of  greater  virtues 
than  Egyptian  cummin.  Many  persons,  however,  consider  it 
to  be  of  a  totally  different  nature  from  cummin,  as  it  is  so  very 
much  thinner,  and  of  a  much  whiter  colour.  Still,  it  is  em- 
ployed for  just  the  same  purposes  as  cummin,  for  we  find  it 
used  at  Alexandria  for  putting  under  loaves  of  bread,  and  form- 
ing an  ingredient  in  various  sauces.  It  has  the  effect  of  dispel- 
ling flatulency  and  gripings  of  the  bowels,  and  of  promoting 
the  secretion  of  the  urine  and  the  menstrual  discharge.  It  is 
employed,  also,  for  the  cure  of  bruises,  and  to  assuage  defluxions 
of  the  eyes.  Taken  in  wine  with  linseed,  in  doses  of  two 
drachmae,  it  is  a  cure  for  the  stings  of  scorpions ;  and,  used 
with  an  equal  proportion  of  myrrh,  it  is  particularly  good  for 
the  bite  of  the  cerastes.1 

Like  cummin,  too,  it  imparts  paleness  of  complexion  to  those 
who  drink  of  it.     Used  as  a  fumigation,  with  raisins  or  with 
resin,  it  acts  as  a  purgative  upon  the  uterus.     It  is  said,  too,  : 
that  if  women  smell  at  this  plant  during  the  sexual  congress, 
the  chances  of  conception  will  be  greatly  promoted  thereby. 


We  have  already  spoken2  of  the  caper  at  sufficient  length 
when  treating  of  the  exotic  plants.  The  caper  which  comes3 
from  beyond  sea  should  never  be  used  ;  that  of  Italy4  is  not  so 
dangerous.  It  is  said,  that  persons  who  eat  this  plant  daily, 
are  never  attacked  by  paralysis  or  pains  in  the  spleen.  The 
root  of  it,  pounded,  removes  white  eruptions  of  the  skin,  if 

98  The  Ammi  Copticum  of  modern  botany. 

99  The  ^Ethiopian  cummin,  namely,  which  Pliny  himself  seems  inclined 
to  confound  with  ammi. 

1  Or  "  horned"  serpent.     See  B.  viii.  c.  35,  and  B.  xi.  c.  45, 

2  In  B.  xiii.  c.  44. 

3  It  is  not  improbable  that  under  this  name  he  alludes  to  the  carpels  of 
some  kind  of  Euphorbiacea,  which  bear  a  resemblance  to  the  fruit  of  the 
caper.     Indeed,  there  is  one  variety  of  the  Euphorbia  with  an  acrid  juice, 
known  in  this  country  by  the  name  of  the  "  caper-plant." 

4  The  Capparis  spinosa,  probably,  on  which  the  capers  used  in  our 
sauces  are  grown. 

Chap.  61.]  CUNILA  BUBULA.  265 

rubbed  with  it  in  the  sun.  The  bark5  of  the  root,  taken  in 
wine,  in  doses  of  two  drachmae,  is  good  for  affections  of  the 
spleen ;  the  patient,  however,  must  forego  the  use  of  the  bath. 
It  is  said,  too,  that  in  the  course  of  thirty-five  days  the  whole 
of  the  spleen  maybe  discharged  under  this  treatment,  by  urine 
and  by  stool.  The  caper  is  also  taken  in  drink  for  lumbago  and 
paralysis  ;  and  the  seed  of  it  boiled,  and  beaten  up  in  vinegar, 
or  the  root  chewed,  has  a  soothing  effect  in  tooth-ache.  A 
decoction  of  it  in  oil  is  employed,  also,  as  an  injection  for  ear- 

The  leaves  and  the  root,  fresh  out  of  the  ground,  mixed 
with  honey,  are  a  cure  for  the  ulcers  known  as  phagedseuic. 
In  the  same  way,  too,  the  root  disperses  scrofulous  swellings ; 
,  and  a  decoction  of  it  in  water  removes  imposthumes  of  the  pa- 
rotid glands,  and  worms.  Beaten  up  and  mixed  with  barley- 
meal,  it  is  applied  topically  for  pains  in  the  liver ;  it  is  a  cure, 
also,  for  diseases  of  the  bladder.  In  combination  with  oxymel, 
it  is  prescribed  for  tapeworm,  and  a  decoction  of  it  in  vinegar 
removes  ulcerations  of  the  mouth.  It  is  generally  agreed 
among  writers  that  the  caper  is  prejudicial  to  the  stomach. 


Ligusticum,6  by  some  persons  known  as  "  panax,"  is  good 
for  the  stomach,  and  is  curative  of  convulsions  and  flatulency. 
There  are  persons  who  give  this  plant  the  name  of  "  cunila 
bubula ;"  but,  as  we  have  already7  stated,  they  are  in  error  in 
so  doing. 


In  addition  to  garden  cunila,8  there  are  numerous  other 
varieties  of  it  employed  in  medicine.  That  known  to  us  as 
"  cunila  bubula,"  has  a  very  similar  seed  to  that  of  penny- 
royal. This  seed,  chewed  and  applied  topically,  is  good  for 
wounds  :  the  plaster,  however,  must  not  be  taken  off  till  the 
fifth  day.  For  the  stings  of  serpents,  this  plant  is  taken  iu 
wine,  and  the  leaves  of  it  are  bruised  and  applied  to  the 

5  Until  recently,  the  bark  was  employed  in  the  Materia  Medica,  as  a 
diuretic  :  it  is  now  no  longer  used. 

6  Or  Lovage.     See  B.  xix.  c.  50. 

7  In  B.  xix.  c.  50,  where  he  states  that  Crateuas  has  given  to  the  wild 
Ligusticum  the  name  of  Cunila  buhula,  or  *'  ox  cunila." 

8  See  B.  xix.  c.  50. 


wound ;  which  is  also  rubbed  with  them  as  a  friction.  The 
tortoise,9  when  about  to  engage  in  combat  with  the  serpent, 
employs  this  plant  as  a  preservative  against  the  effects  of  its 
sting ;  some  persons,  for  this  reason,  have  given  it  the  name  of 
"  panacea." 10  It  has  the  effect  also  of  dispersing  tumours  and 
maladies  of  the  male  organs,  the  leaves  being  dried  for  the 
purpose,  or  else  beaten  up  fresh  and  applied  to  the  part  affected. 
For  every  purpose  for  which  it  is  employed  it  combines  re- 
markably well  with  wine. 


There  is  another  variety,  again,  known  to  our  people  as 
"  cunila  gallinacea,"11  and  to  the  Greeks  as  Heracleotic  origa- 
num.12 Beaten  up  with  salt,  this  plant  is  good  for  the  eyes ; 
and  it  is  a  remedy  for  cough  and  affections  of  the  liver. 
Mixed  with  meal,  and  taken  as  a  broth,  with  oil  and  vino- 
gar,  it  is  good  for  pains  in  the  side,  and  the  stings  of  serpents 
in  particular. 


There  is  a  third  species,  also,  known  to  the  Greeks  as  "  male 
cunila,"  and  to  us  as  "cunilago."13  This  plant  has  a  fostid  smell, 
a  ligneous  root,  and  a  rough  leaf.  Of  all  the  varieties  of  cunila, 
this  one,  it  is  said,  is  possessed  of  the  most  active  properties. 
If  a  handful  of  it  is  thrown  anywhere,  all  the  beetles  in  the 
house,  they  say,  will  be  attracted  to  it ;  and,  taken  in  vinegar 
and  water,  it  is  good  for  the  stings  of  scorpions  more  particularly. 
It  is  stated,  also,  that  if  a  person  is  rubbed  with  three  leaves 
of  it,  steeped  in  oil,  it  will  have  the  effect  of  keeping  all  ser- 
pents at  a  distance. 



The  variety,  on  the  other  hand,  known  as  soft14  cunila,  has  a 

9  See  B.  viii.  cc.  41  and  44. 

10  Universal  remedy,  or  "  all-heal." 

11  Or  "Poultry  cunila  :"  the  Origanum  Heracleoticum  of  Linnaeus. 

12  SeeB.  xxv.  c.  12. 

33  An  Umbellifera,  Fee  says,  of  the  modern  genus  Conyza.  See  B.  xxi. 
c.  32. 

14  Fee  is  of  opinion  that  Pliny  has  here  confounded  "cunila"  \vitli 
"conyza,"  and  that  he  means  the  icovvZa  fjuicpd  of  Dioscorides,  B.  in.  c. 
136,  the  Kovv'C,a  QII\VQ  of  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vi.  c.  2,  supposed 
to  be  the  Inula  pulicaria  of  Limiseus.  See  B.  xxi.  c.  32. 

Chap.  66.]  P1PEB1TIS,    OR    SILIQTTASTHUM.  267 

more  velvety  leaf,  and  branches  covered  with  thorns ;  when 
rubbed  it  has  just  the  smell  of  honey,  and  it  adheres  to  the 
fingers  when  touched.  There  is  another  kind,  again,  known 
to  us  as  "  libanotis,"15  a  name  which  it  owes  to  the  resem- 
blance of  its  smell  to  that  of  frankincense.  Both  of  these  plants, 
taken  in  wine  or  vinegar,  are  antidotes  for  the  stings  of  serpents. 
Beaten  up  in  water,  also,  and  sprinkled  about  a  place,  they  kill 



Cultivated  cunila17  has  also  its  medicinal  uses.  The  juice 
of  it,  in  combination  with  rose  oil,  is  good  for  the  ears ;  and 
the  plant  itself  is  taken  in  drink,  to  counteract  the  effects  of 
violent  blows.18 

A  variety  of  this  plant  is  the  mountain  cunila,  similar  to  wild 
thyme  in  appearance,  and  particularly  efficacious  for  the  stings  of 
serpents.  This  plant  is  diuretic,  and  promotes  the  lochial  dis- 
charge :  it  aids  the  digestion,  too,  in  a  marvellous  degree.  Both 
varieties  have  a  tendency  to  sharpen  the  appetite,  even  when 
persons  are  troubled  with  indigestion,  if  taken  fasting  in  drink : 
they  are  good,  too,  for  sprains,  and,  taken  with  barley-meal,  and 
vinegar  and  water,  they  are  extremely  useful  for  stings  inflicted 
by  wasps  and  insects  of  a  similar  nature. 

We  shall  have  occasion  to  speak  of  other  varieties  of  liba- 
notis19 in  their  appropriate  places. 


Piperitis,20  which  we  have  already  mentioned  as  being  called 
"  siliquastrum,"  is  taken  in  drink  for  epilepsy.  Castor21 
used  to  give  a  description  of  it  to  the  following  effect :  "  The 
stalk  of  it  is  long  and  red,  with  the  knots  lying  close  together ; 
the  leaves  are  similar  to  those  of  the  laurel,  and  the  seed  is  white 

15  A  yariety  of  Couyza.     See  B.  xxi.  c.  32. 

16  Dioscorides,  B.  iii.  c,  136,  says  the  same  of  the  Kovvfa  /mcpa,  01 
"  small  conyza." 

17  The  Satureia  thymbra  of  Linnaeus.    See  B.  xix.  c.  50. 

18  "  Ictus,"  possibly  "  stings." 

19  See  the  preceding  Chapter :  also  B.  xix.  c.  62,  and  B.  xxi.  c.  32. 

20  Perhaps  Indian  pepper,  the  Capsicum  annuum  of  Botany.     See  B. 
xix.  c.  62. 

21  For  some  account  of  Castor,  the  botanist,  see  the  end  of  this  Book. 


and  slender,  like  pepper  in  taste."  He  described  it^also  as 
being  beneficial  to  the  gums  and  teeth,  imparting  sweetness 
to  the  breath,  and  dispelling  flatulency. 


Origanum,22  which,  as  we  have  already  stated,  rivals  cunila  in 
flavour,  includes  many  varieties  employed  in  medicine.  Onitis,23 
or  prasion,24  is  the  name  given  to  one  of  these,  which  is  not 
unlike  hyssop  in  appearance :  it  is  employed  more  particu- 
larly, with  warm  water,  for  gnawing  pains  at  the  stomach,  and 
for  indigestion.  Taken  in  white  wine  it  is  good  for  the  stings 
of  spiders  and  scorpions ;  and,  applied  with  vinegar  and  oil,  in 
wool,  it  is  a  cure  for  sprains  and  bruises. 


Tragoriganum25  bears  a  strong  resemblance  to  wild  thyme. 
It  is  diuretic,  disperses  tumours,  and  taken  in  drink  is  extremely 
efficacious  in  cases  of  poisoning  by  mistletoe  and  stings  by  ser- 
pents. It  is  very  good  for  acid  eructations  from  the  stomach,  | 
and  for  the  thoracic  organs.  It  is  given  also  for  a  cough,  with 
honey,  as  well  as  for  pleurisy  and  peripneumony. 



Heraclium,26  again,  comprehends  three  varieties ;  the  first,27 

22  Or  Wild  Marjoram.     See  B.  xix.  c.  50. 

23  So  called,  Nicander  says,  from  being  sought  with  avidity  by  the  ass, 
OVOQ.    It  is  the  Origanum  onites  of  Linnaeus. 

24  The  Prasion,  or  "  green  plant,"  mentioned  by  Hippocrates  and  Theo- 
phrastus,  is  not  identical,  Fee  says,  with  the  Origanum  onitis,  it  being  the 
Marrubium  Creticum,  or  peregrmum  of  modern  botanists.     To  add  to  the 
confusion  of  these  names,  we  find  Pliny  stating,  in  c.  69,  that  the  name  of 
•'  prasion"  was  given  also  by  the  Greeks  to  his  second  species  of  Hera- 
clium, and  that  of  "  onitis"  to  the  Heraclium  Heracleoticum. 

25  Or  "  Goat's  origanum :"  the  Thymus  tragoriganum  of  Linnaeus.   Dios- 
corides  mentions  two  kinds  of  tragoriganum,  one  of  which  has  been  sup- 
posed by  Clusius  to  be  the  Thymus  mastichina  of  Linnaeus,  and  the  other 
the  Stachys  glutinosa  of  Linnaeus ;  Zanoni  being  the  first  author  who  pro- 
mulgated this  opinion ;  from  which  Fee,  however,  dissents. 

26  Or  Heracleotic  origanum :  see  c.  62  of  this  Book.    Pliny  here  con- 
founds several  distinct  plants,  and,  as  Fee  observes,  the  whole  account  is 
in  hopeless  confusion. 

27  Probably  the  Origanum  Heracleoticum  of  Linnasus,  mentioned  in  c.  62. 

Chap.  69.]  HERAOLEOTIC   OEIGANUM.  269 

which  is  the  darkest,  has  broader  leaves  than  the  others,  and  ia 
of  a  glutinous  nature  ;  the  second,26  which  has  leaves  of  a  more 
slender  form,  and  not  unlike  sampsuchum 28*  in  appearance,  is 
by  some  persous  called  "  prasion,"  in  preference :  the  third20 
is  of  an  intermediate  nature  between  the  other  two,  but  is 
less  efficacious  for  medicinal  purposes  than  either.  But  the 
best  kind  of  all  is  that  of  Crete,  for  it  has  a  particularly  agree- 
able smell ;  the  next  best  being  that  of  Smyrna,  which  has 
even  a  more  powerful  odour  than  the  last.  The  Heracleotic 
origanum,  however,  known  by  the  name  of  "  onitis,"  is  the 
one  that  is  the  most  esteemed  for  taking  in  drink. 

Origanum,  in  general,  is  employed  for  repelling  serpents ; 
and  it  is  given  boiled  to  persons  suffering  from  wounds.  Taken 
in  drink,  it  is  diuretic ;  and  mixed  with  root  of  panax,  it  is 
given  for  the  cure  of  ruptures  and  convulsions..  In  combina- 
tion with  figs  or  hyssop,  it  is  prescribed  for  dropsical  patients 
in  doses  of  one  acetabulum,  being  reduced  by  boiling  to  one 
sixth.  It  is  good  also  for  the  itch,30  prurigo,  and  leprosy, 
taken  just  before  the  bath.  The  juice  of  it  is  injected  into  the 
ears  with  milk ;  it  being  a  cure,  also,  for  affections  of  the 
tonsils  and  the  uvula,  and  for  ulcers  of  the  head.  A  decoction 
of  it,  taken  with  the  ashes  in  wine,  neutralizes  poison  by 
opium  or  gypsum.31  Taken  in  doses  of  one  acetabulum,  it  re- 
laxes the  bowels.  It  is  applied  as  a  liniment  for  bruises  and 
for  tooth- ache ;  and  mixed  with  honey  and  nitre,  it  imparts 
whiteness  to  the  teeth.  It  has  the  effect,  also,  of  stopping 
bleeding  at  the  nose. 

A  decoction  of  this  plant,  with  barley-meal,  is  employed  for 
imposthumes  of  the  parotid  glands  ;  and,  beaten  up  with  nut- 
galls  and  honey,  it  is  used  for  roughness  of  the  trachea :  the 
leaves  of  it,  with  honey  and  salt,  are  good,  too,  for  the  spleen. 
Eoiled  with  vinegar  and  salt,  and  taken  in  small  doses,  it  at- 

28  The  Marrubium  Creticum,  or  peregrinum,  probably,  a  variety  of 
horehound.     See  c.  67. 

8*  See  B.  xiii.  c.  2,  and  B.  xv.  c.  7. 

29  The  Origanum  onites  of  Linnaeus,  probably.     See  c.  67. 

30  Fee  says  that  a  strong  infusion  of  pepperwort  has  been  used  in  France 
for  the  itch,  with  successful  results. 

31  Sulphate  of  lime,  which,  as  Fee  remarks,  though  insoluble,  does  not 
act  as  a  poison,  but  causes  a  derangement  of  the  digestive  functions.     The 
wines  of  the  Romans  were  extensively  treated  with  this  substance,  and  we 
have  seen  in  B,,xviii.  that  it  was  used  as  an  ingredient  in  their  bread. 


tenuates  the  phlegm,  when  very  thick  and  black ;  and  beaten 
up  with  oil,  it  is  injected  into  the  nostrils  for  jaundice.  When 
persons  are  affected  with  lassitude,  the  body  is  well  rubbed 
with  it,  care  being  taken  not  to  touch  the  abdomen.  Used  with 
pitch,  it  is  a  cure  for  epinyctis,  and,  applied  with  a  roasted 
fig,  it  brings  boils  to  a  head.  Employed  with  oil  and  vinegar, 
and  barley-meal,  it  is  good  for  scrofulous  swellings ;  and  ap- 
plied topically  in  a  fig,  it  is  a  cure  for  pains  in  the  sides. 
Beaten  up,  and  applied  with  vinegar,  it  is  employed  as  a  lini- 
ment for  bloody  fluxes  of  the  generative  organs,  and  it  accele- 
rates the  lochial  discharge  after  child-birth. 


Dittander32  is  generally  considered  to  rank  among  the  caustic 
plants.  It  is  owing  to  this  property  that  it  clears  the  skin  of  the 
face,  not,  however,  without  excoriating  it ;  though,  at  the  same 
time,  the  excoriations  are  easily  healed  by  employing  wax  and 
rose  oil.  It  is  owing  to  this  property,  too,  that  it  always  re- 
moves, without  difficulty,  leprous  sores  and  itch- scabs,  as  well 
as  the  scars  left  by  ulcers.  It  is  said,  that  in  cases  of  tooth- 
ache, if  this  plant  is  attached  to  the  arm  on  the  suffering  side, 
it  will  have  the  effect  of  drawing  the  pain  to  it. 


Gith33  is  by  some  Greek  writers  called  "  melanthion,"34  and 
by  others  "  melaspermon.'*35  That  is  looked  upon  as  the 
best  which  has  the  most  pungent  odour  and  is  the  darkest  in 
appearance.  It  is  employed  as  a  remedy  for  wounds  made  by 
serpents  and  scorpions  :  I  find  that  for  this  purpose  it  is  ap- 
plied topically  with  vinegar  and  honey,  and  that  by  burning 
it  serpents  are  kept  at  a  distance.36  It  is  taken,  also,  in  doses 
of  one  drachma  for  the  bites  of  spiders.  Eeaten  up,  and  smelt 
at  in  a  piece  of  linen  cloth,  it  is  a  cure  for  running  at  the  nos- 
trils; and,  applied  as  a  liniment  with  vinegar  and  injected 

33  Dittander,  or  pepperwort :  the  Lepidium  latifolium  of  Linnseus. 

33  Or  fennel-flower  :    the  Nigella  sativa  of  Linnaeus.    Fee  suggests  that 
its  name,  "gith,"  is  from  the  ancient  Egyptian. 

34  "  Black  flower/'  35  "  Black  seed." 

36  It  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine,  but  it  is  esteemed  as  a  seasoning  in 
the  East.  All  that  Pliny  states  as  to  its  medicinal  properties,  Fee  con- 
siders to  be  erroneous.  The  action  of  the  seed  is  irritating,  and  reduced 
to  powder,  it  causes  sneezing. 

Chap.  72.]  ANISE.  271 

into  the  nostrils,  it  dispels  liead-ache.  With,  oil  of  iris  it  is 
good  for  defluxions  and  tumours  of  the  eyes,  and  a  decoc- 
tion of  it  with  vinegar  is  a  cure  for  tooth- ache.  Beaten  up 
and  applied  topically,  or  else  chewed,  it  is  used  for  ulcers 
of  the  mouth,  and  combined  with  vinegar,  it  is  good  for 
leprous  sores  and  freckles  on  the  skin.  Taken  in  drink,  with 
the  addition  of  nitre,  it  is  good  for  hardness  of  breathing,  and, 
employed  as  a  liniment,  for  indurations,  tumours  of  long 
standing,  and  suppurations.  Taken  several  days  in  succession, 
it  augments  the  milk  in  women  who  are  nursing. 

The  juice  of  this  plant  is  collected38  in  the  same  manner  as 
that  of  henbane ;  and,  like  it,  if  taken  in  too  large  doses,  it 
acts  as  a  poison,  a  surprising  fact,  seeing  that  the  seed  is  held 
in  esteem  as  a  most  agreeable  seasoning  for  bread.39  The  seed 
cleanses  the  eyes  also,  acts  as  a  diuretic,  and  promotes  the  men- 
strual discharge  ;  and  not  only  this,  but  I  find  it  stated  also,  that 
if  thirty  grains  only  are  attached  to  the  body,  in  a  linen  cloth, 
it  will  have  the  effect  of  accelerating  the  after-birth.  It  is 
stated,  also,  that  beaten  up  in  urine,  it  is  a  cure  for  corns  on 
the  feet ;  and  that  when  burnt  it  kills  gnats  and  flies  with  the 


Anise,40  too,  one  of  the  comparatively  small  number  of  plants 
that  have  been  commended  by  Pythagoras,  is  taken  in  wine, 
either  raw  or  boiled,  for  the  stings  of  scorpions.  Eoth  green 
and  dried,  it  is  held  in  high  repute,  as  an  ingredient  in  all  sea- 
sonings and  sauces,  and  we  find  it  placed  beneath  the  under- 
crust  of  bread.41  Pat  with  bitter- almonds  into  the  cloth 
strainers42  for  filtering  wine,  it  imparts  an  agreeable  flavour  to 
the  wine  :  it  has  the  effect,  also,  of  sweetening  the  breath,  and 
removing  all  bad  odours  from  the  mouth,  if  chewed  in  the 
ruorning  with  smyrnion43  and  a  little  honey,  the  mouth  being- 
then  rinsed  with  wine. 

This  plant  imparts  a  youthful  look44  to  the  features ;  and  if 

38  See  B.  xxv.  c.  17.  39  See  B.  xix.  c.  52. 

40  The  Pimpinella  anisum  of  Linnaeus. 

41  It  is  still  used  in  some  countries  as  a  seasoning  with  which  bread  and 
pastry  are  powdered.  4-  See  B.  xiv.  c.  28. 

4a  See  B.  xix.  cc.  48  and  62 :  also  B.  xxvii.  c.  97. 
44  This  and  the  next  statement  are  utterly  fabulous. 


suspended  to  the  pillow,  so  as  to  be  smelt  by  a  person  when 
asleep,  it  will  prevent  all  disagreeable  dreams.  It  has  the 
effect  of  promoting  the  appetite,  also— for  this,  too,  has  been 
made  by  luxury  one  of  the  objects  of  art,  ever  since  labour  has 
ceased  to  stimulate  it.  It  is  for  these  various  reasons  that  it 
has  received  the  name  of  "  anicetum,"46  given  to  it  by  some. 


The  most  esteemed  anise  is  that  of  Crete,  and,  next  to  it, 
that  of  Egypt.  This  plant  is  employed  in  seasonings  to  sup- 
ply the  place  of  lovage  ;  and  the  perfume  of  it,  when  burnt 
and  inhaled,  alleviates  headache.  Evenor  prescribes  an  appli- 
cation of  the  root,  pounded,  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes ;  and 
lollas  employs  it  in  a  similar  manner,  in  combination  with 
saffron  and  wine,  or  else  beaten  up  by  itself  and  mixed  with 
polenta,  for  violent  denuxions  and  the  extraction  of  such  ob- 
jects as  have  got  into  the  eyes  :  applied,  too,  as  a  liniment  in 
water,  it  arrests  cancer  of  the  nose.  Mixed  with  hyssop  and 
oxymel,  and  employed  as  a  gargle,  it  is  a  cure  for  quinsy  ;; 
and,  in  combination  with  rose  oil,  it  is  used  as  an  injection  for 
the  ears.  Parched  anise  purges  off  phlegm  from  the  chest,  and, 
if  taken  with  honey,  it  is  better  still. 

For  a  cough,  beat  up  fifty  bitter  almonds,  shelled,  in  honey, 
with  one  acetabulum  of  anise.  Another  very  easy  remedy, 
too,  is  to  mix  three  drachmas  of  anise  with  two  of  poppies  and 
some  honey,  apiece  the  size  of  a  bean  being  taken  three  times 
a-day.  Its  main  excellence,  however,  is  as  a  carminative ; 
hence  it  is  that  it  is  so  good  for  flatulency  of  the  stomach, 
griping  pains  of  the  intestines,  and  cceliac  affections.  A  de- 
coction of  it,  smelt  at  and  drunk,  arrests  hiccup,  and  a  decoc- 
tion of  the  leaves  removes  indigestion.  A  decoction  of  it  with 
parsley,  if  applied  to  the  nostrils,  will  arrest  sneezing.  Taken 
in  drink,  anise  promotes  sleep,  disperses  calculi  of  the  bladder, 
arrests  vomiting  and  swelling  of  the  viscera,  and  acts  as  an 
exceUent  pectoral  for  affections  of  the  chest,  and  of  the  dia- 

45  "Unconquerable,"  from  the  Greek  a,  "not,"  and  VIKO.M,  "to  con- 
quer "  Fee  thinks  that  the  word  is  a  diminutive  of  "amsum,"  which, 
according  to  some  persons,  is  a  derivative  from  "  anysun"  the  Arabic  name 
of  the  plant.  Dioseorides  gives  the  name  "  anicetum'  to  dill,  and  not  to 

Chap.  73.]  ANISE.  2/3 

phragm,  where  the  body  is  tightly  laced.  It  is  beneficial,  also, 
to  pour  a  decoction  of  it,  in  oil,  upon  the  head  for  head-ache. 

It  is  generally  thought  that  there  is  nothing  in  existence 
more  beneficial  to  the  abdomen  and  intestines  than  anise  ;  for 
which  reason  it  is  given,  parched,  for  dysentery  and  tenesmus. 
Some  persons  add  opium  to  these  ingredients,  and  prescribe 
three  pills  a-day,  the  size  of  a  bean,  with  one  cyathus  of  wine. 
Dieuches  has  employed  the  juice  of  this  plant  for  lumbago, 
and  prescribes  the  seed  of  it,  pounded  with  mint,  for  dropsy 
and  cceliac  affections :  Evenor  recommends  the  root,  also,  for 
affections  of  the  kidneys.  Dalion,  the  herbalist,  employed  it, 
with  parsley,  as  a  cataplasm  for  women  in  labour,  as  also  for 
pains  of  the  uterus;  and,  for  women  in  labour,  he  pre- 
scribes a  decoction  of  anise  and  dill  to  be  taken  in  drink.  It 
is  used  as  a  liniment  also  in  cases  of  phrenitis,  or  else  applied 
fresh  gathered  and  mixed  with  polenta;  in  which  form  it  is 
used  also  for  infants  attacked  with  epilepsy46  or  convulsions. 
Pythagoras,  indeed,  assures  us  that  persons,  so  long  as  they 
hold  this  plant  in  the  hand,  will  never  be  attacked  with  epi- 
lepsy, for  which  reason,  as  much  of  it  as  possible  should  be 
planted  near  the  house ;  he  says,  too,  that  women  who  inhale 
the  odour  of  it  have  a  more  easy  delivery,  it  being  his  advice 
also,  that,  immediately  after  they  are  delivered,  it  should  be 
given  them  to  drink,  with  a  sprinkling  of  polenta. 

Sosimenes  employed  this  plant,  in  combination  with  vinegar, 
for  all  kinds  of  indurations,  and  for  lassitude  he  prescribes  a 
decoction  of  it  in  oil,  with  the  addition  of  nitre.  The  same 
writer  pledges  his  word  to  all  wayfarers,  that,  if  they  take 
aniseed  in  their  drink,  they  will  be  comparatively  exempt 
from  fatigue47  on  their  journey.  Heraclides  prescribes  a  pinch 
of  aniseed  with  three  fingers,  for  inflations  of  the  stomach,  to 
be  taken  with  two  oboli  of  castoreum 48  in  honied  wine ;  and  he 
recommends  a  similar  preparation  for  inflations  of  the  abdomen 
and  intestines.  In  cases  of  orthopnosa,  he  recommends  a  pinch 
of  aniseed  with  three  fingers,  and  the  same  quantity  of  hen- 
bane, to  be  mixed  in  asses' -milk.  It  is  the  advice  of  many  to 
those  who  are  liable  to  vomit,49  to  take,  at  dinner,  one  ace- 

46  A  mere  fable,  as  Fee  remarks. 

47  A  fiction,  without  any  foundation  in  truth. 

48  See  B.  viii.  c.  47,  and  B.  xxxii.  cc.  13,  23,  24,  and  28. 

48  Fee  evidently  mistakes  the  meaning  of  this  passage,  and  censure. 
TOL.  IV.  T 


tabulum  of  aniseed  and  ten  laurel-leaves,  the  whole  to   be 
beaten  up  and  drunk  in  water. 

Anise,  chewed  and  applied  warm,  or  else  taken  with  casto- 
reum  in  oxymel,  allays  suffocations  of  the  uterus.  It  ako 
dispels  vertigo  after  child-birth,  taken  with  a  pinch  of  cucum- 
ber seed  in  three  fingers  and  the  same  quantity  of  linseed,  in 
three  cyathi  of  white  wine.  Tlepolemus  has  employed  a  pinch 
of  aniseed  and  fennel  in  three  fingers,  mixed  with  vinegar 
and  one  cyathus  of  honey,  for  the  cure  of  quartan  fever.  Ap- 
plied topically  with  bitter  almonds,  aniseed  is  beneficial  for 
maladies  of  the  joints.  There  are  some  persons  who  look  upon 
it  as,  by  nature,  an  antidote  to  the  venom  of  the  asp.  It  is  a 
diuretic,  assuages  thirst,  and  acts  as  an  aphrodisiac.  Taken  in 
wine,  it  promotes  a  gentle  perspiration,  and  it  has  the  property 
of  protecting  cloth  from  the  ravages  of  moths.  The  more 
recently  it  has  been  gathered,  and  the  darker  its  colour,  the 
greater  are  its  virtues  :  still,  however,  it  is  injurious  to  the 
stomach,  except  when  suffering  from  flatulency. 

CHAP.  74.  (18.) — DILL:  NINE  REMEDIES. 
Dill50  acts  also  as  a  carminative,  allays  gripings  of  the  sto- 
mach, and  arrests  looseness  of  the  bowels.  The  roots  of  this 
plant  are  applied  topically  in  water,  or  else  in  wine,  for  de- 
fluxions  of  the  eyes.  The  seed  of  it,  if  smelt  at  while  boil- 
ing, will  arrest  hiccup ;  and,  taken  in  water,  it  dispels  indi- 
gestion. The  ashes  of  it  are  a  remedy  for  swellings  of  the 
uvula ;  but  the  plant  itself  weakens  the  eyesight  and  the  ge- 
nerative powers. 


The  sacopenium  which  grows  in  Italy  is  totally  different 
from  that  which  comes  from  beyond  sea.  This  last,  in  fact, 
is  similar  to  gum  ammoniac,  and  is  known  as  "  sagapenon."51 
Pliny  for  speaking  of  anise  as  an  emetic.  On  the  contrary,  he  here  pre- 
scribes it  to  counteract  vomiting,  and  he  has  previously  stated,  in  this 
Chapter,  that  it  arrests  vomiting. 

*°  The  Anethum  graveolens  of  Linnaeus :  originally  a  native  of  the  hot 
climates.  Its  properties  are  very  similar  to  those  of  anise. 

51  Or  Sagapenum.  This  is  a  fetid  gum-resin,  imported  from  Persia  and 
Alexandria,  and  supposed,  though  without  sufficient  proof,  Fee  says,  to  be 
the  produce  of  the  Ferula  Persica.  It,is  occasionally  used  in  medicine  as  a 
stimulating  expectorant.  In  odour  it  somewhat  resembles  assafoetidn, 
only  it  is  much  weaker.  Galen  speaks  of  it  as  the  produce  of  a  Ferula. 
It  acts  also  as  a  purgative  and  a  vermifuge. 

Chap.   76.]  THE   WHITE   AND   BLACK   POPPY.  275 

52Sacopenium  is  good  for  pains  of  the  sides  and  chest,  for 
convulsions,  coughs  of  long  standing,  expectorations,  and 
swellings  of  the  thoracic  organs :  it  is  a  cure  also  for  vertigo, 
palsy,  opisthotony,  affections  of  the  spleen  and  loins,  and  for 
shivering  fits.  For  suffocations  of  the  uterus,  this  plant  is 
given  in  vinegar  to  smell  at ;  in  addition  to  which,  it  is  some- 
times administered  in  drink,  or  employed  as  a  friction  with 
oil.  It  is  a  good  antidote,  also,  for  medicaments  of  a  noxious 


"We  have  already53  stated  that  there  are  three  varieties  of 
the  cultivated  poppy,  and,  on  the  same  occasion,  we  promised 
to  describe  the  wild  kinds.  With  reference  to  the  cultivated 
varieties,  the  calyx54  of  the  white65  poppy  is  pounded,  and  is 
taken  in  wine  as  a  soporific ;  the  seed  of  it  is  a  cure,  also,  for 
elephantiasis.  The  black66  poppy  acts  as  a  soporific,  by  the 
juice  which  exudes  from  incisions57  made  in  the  stalk — at  the 
time  when  the  plant  is  beginning  to  flower,  Diagoras  says ; 
but  when  the  blossom  has  gone  off,  according  to  lollas.  This 
is  done  at  the  third58  hour,  in  a  clear,  still,  day,  or,  in  other 
words,  when  the  dew  has  thoroughly  dried  upon  the  poppy.  It 
is  recommended  to  make  the  incision  just  beneath  the  head 

52  See  B.  xii.  c.  56,  and  B.  xix,  c.  52.     Some  writers  have  supposed, 
but  apparently  without  any  sufficient  authority,  that  this  is  the  Ferula  com- 
munis  of  Linnaeus.    Fee  is  of  opinion  that  one  of  the  Umbelliferae  is  meant. 

53  In  B.  xix.  c.  53. 

54  It  is  probable,  Fee  says,  that  Pliny  does  not  intend  here  to  speak  of 
the  calyx  as  understood  by  modern  botanists,  but  the  corolla  of  the  plant. 
The  calyx  disappears  immediately  after  the  plant  has  blossomed  ;  and  is 
never  employed  by  medical  men  at  the  present  day,  who  confine  themselves 
to  the  heads  or  capsules. 

55  The  variety  Album  of  the  Papaver  somniferum.     See  B.  xix.  c.  53. 

56  The  variety  A.  nigruni  of  the  Papaver  somniferum  of  Decandolle. 

57  The  incisions  are  made  in  the  capsules,  and  towards  the  upper  part 
of  the  peduncle.     The  account  given  by  Pliny,  Fee  remarks,  differs  but 
little  from  that  by  Kaempfer,  in  the  early  part  of  last  century. 

is  Nine  in  the  morning. 

T   2 


and  calyx  of  the  plant ;  this  being  the  only  kind,  in  fact,  into 
the  head  of  which  the  incision  is  made.  This  juice,  like  that 
of  any  other  plant,  is  received  in  wool  ;59  or  else,  if  it  is  in 
very  minute  quantities,  it  is  scraped  off  with  the  thumb  nail 
just  as  it  is  from  the  lettuce,  and  so  again  on  the  following 
day,  with  the  portion  that  has  since  dried  there.  If  obtained 
from  the  poppy  in  sufficiently  large  quantities,  this  juice 
thickens,  after  which  it  is  kneaded  out  into  lozenges,  and  dried 
in  the  shade.  This  juice  is  possessed  not  only  of  certain  sopo- 
rific qualities,  but,  if  taken  in  too  large  quantities,  is  productive 
of  sleep  unto  death  even  :  the  name  given  to  it  is  "  opium."6( 
It  was  in  this  way,  we  learn,  that  the  father  of  P.  Licinius 
Csscina,  a  man  of  Praetorian  rank,  put  an  end  to  his  life  at 
Bavilum61  in  Spain,  an  incurable  malady  having  rendered 
existence  quite  intolerable  to  him.  Many  other  persons,  too, 
have  ended  their  lives  in  a  similar  way.  It  is  for  this  reason 
that  opium  has  been  so  strongly  exclaimed  against  by  Dia- 
goras  and  Erasistratus ;  for  they  have  altogether  condemned 
it  as  a  deadly  poison,  forbidding  it  to  be  used  for  infusions 
even,  as  being  injurious  to  the  sight.  Andreas  says,  in  .addi-  • 
tion  to  this,  that  the  only  reason  why  it  does  not  cause  instan- 
taneous blindness,  is  the  fact  that  they  adulterate  it  at  Alex- 
andria. In  later  times,  however,  the  use  of  it  has  not  been 
disapproved  of — witness  the  celebrated  preparation  known  as 
"diacodion."62  Lozenges  are  also  made  of  ground  poppy- 
seed,  which  are  taken  in  milk  as  a  soporific.63  The  seed  is 
employed,  too,  with  rose-oil  for  head-ache  ;  and,  in  combination 
with  that  oil,  is  injected  into  the  ears  for  ear-ache.  Mixed 
with  woman's  milk,  this  seed  is  used  as  a  liniment  for 
gout :  the  leaves,  too,  are  employed  in  a  similar  manner. 
Taken  in  vinegar,  the  seed  is  prescribed  as  a  cure  for  erysipelas 
and  wounds. 

For  my  own  part,  however,  I  do  not  approve  of  opium 

89  This  plan,  Fee  thinks,  would  not  be  attended  with  advantage. 

60  A  name,  probably,  of  Eastern  origin,  and  now  universally  employed. 

61  "  Bilbilis"  has  been  suggested. 

62  Syrop  of  white  poppies  was,  till  recently,  known  as  sirop  of  diaco- 
dium.     Opium  is  now  universally  regarded  as  one  of  the  most  important 
ingredients  of  the  Materia  Medica. 

63  Poppy-seed,  in  reality,  is  not  possessed  of  any  soporific  qualities  what- 
ever.    This  discovery,  however,  was  only  made  in  the  latter  part  of  the 
last  century,  by  the  French  chemist,  Eosier. 

Chap.  76.]  THE   WHITE   AND   BLACK   POPPY.  2/7 

entering  into  the  composition  of  eye-salves,64  and  still  less  of 
the  preparations  from  it  known  as  febrifuges,65  digestives,  and 
coeliacs :  the  black  poppy,  however,  is  very  generally  pre- 
scribed, in  wine,  for  cceliac  affections.  All  the  cultivated66 
poppies  are  larger  than  the  others,  and  the  form  of  the  head 
is  round.  In  the  wild  poppy  the  head  is  elongated  and  small, 
but  it  is  possessed  of  more  active67  properties  than  the  others  in 
every  respect.  This  head  is  often  boiled,  and  the  decoction  ot 
it  taken  to  promote  sleep,  the  face  being  fomented  also  with 
the  water.  The  best  poppies  are  grown  in  dry  localities,  and 
where  it  seldom  rains. 

When  the  heads  and  leaves  of  the  poppy  are  boiled  together, 
the  name  given  to  the  decoction  is  "  meconium  ;"68  it  is  much 
less  powerful,  however,  in  its  effects  than  opium. 

The  principal  test69  of  the  purity  of  opium  is  the  smell, 
which,  when  genuine,  is  so  penetrating  as  to  be  quite  insup- 
portable. The  next  best  test  is  that  obtained  by  lighting  it  at 
a  lamp ;  upon  which  it  ought  to  burn  with  a  clear,  brilliant 
flame,  and  to  give  out  a  strong  odour  when  extinguished ;  a 
thing  that  never  happens  when  opium  has  been  drugged,  for, 
in  such  case,  it  lights  with  the  greatest  difficulty,  and  the 
flame  repeatedly  goes  out.  There  is  another  way  of  testing 
its  genuineness,  by  water  ;  for,  if  it  is  pure,  it  will  float  like  a 
thin  cloud  upon  the  surface,  but,  if  adulterated,  it  will  unite  in 
the  form  of  blisters  on  the  water.  But  the  most  surprising 
thing  of  all  is  the  fact,  that  the  sun's  heat  in  summer  furnishes 
a  test ;  for,  if  the  drug  is  pure,  it  will  sweat  and  gradually 
melt,  till  it  has  all  the  appearance  of  the  juice  when  fresh 

Hnesides  is  of  opinion  that  the  best  way  of  preserving 
opium  is  to  mix  henbane  seed  with  it ;  others,  again,  recom- 
mend that  it  should  be  kept  with  beans. 

6i  "  Collyriis." 

65  "  Lexi'pyretos,"  "pepticas,"  and  :<  cceliacas" — Greek  appellations. 

66  The   type  of  the  cultivated  poppy  is  the  Papaver  somniferum   of 

67  This,  Fee  says,  is  a  matter  of  doubt. 

68  From  /JTJK-WV,  a  "  poppy."     Tournefort  has  described  this  kind  of 
opium  obtained  by  decoction  ;  it  is  held  in  little  esteem. 

69  Fee  remarks,  that  this  account  of  the  tests  of  opium  is  correct  in  the 



The  poppy  which  we  have70  spoken  of  under  the  names  of 
"rhoeas"  and  the  "  erratic"  poppj7",  forms  an  intermediate  va- 
riety between  the  cultivated  and  the  wild  poppy ;  for  it  grows 
in  the  fields,  it  is  true,  but  it  is  self-set  nevertheless.  Some 
persons  eat71  it,  calyx  and  all,  immediately  after  it  is  gathered. 
This  plant  is  an  extremely  powerful  purgative  :  five  heads  of 
it,  boiled  in  three  semi-sextarii  of  wine,  and  taken  in  drink, 
have  the  effect  of  producing  sleep. 



There  is  one  variety  of  wild  poppy  known  as  "  ceratitis."72 
It  is  of  a  black  colour,  a  cubit  in  height,  and  has  a  thick  root 
covered  with  bark,  with  a  head  resembling  a  small  bud,  bent 
and  pointed  at  the  end  like  a  horn.  The  leaves  of  this  plant 
are  smaller  and  thinner  than  those  of  the  other  wild  poppies, 
and  the  seed,  which  is  very  diminutive,  is  ripe  at  harvest. 
Taken  with  honied  wine,  in  doses  of  half  an  acetabulum,  the1 
seed  acts  as  a  purgative.  The  leaves,  beaten  up  in  oil,  are  a 
cure  for  the  white73  specks  which  form  on  the  eyes  of  beasts 
of  burden.  The  root,  boiled  down  to  one  half,  in  doses  of  one 
acetabulum  to  two  sextarii  of  water,  is  prescribed  for  maladies 
of  the  loins  and  liver,  and  the  leaves,  employed  with  honey, 
are  a  cure  for  carbuncles. 

Some  persons  give  this  kind  of  poppy  the  name  of  "  glau- 
cion,"  and  others  of  "paralium,"74  for  it  grows,  in  fact,  in 
spots  exposed  to  exhalations  from  the  sea,  or  else  in  soils  of  a 
nitrous  nature. 



There  is  another  kind75  of  wild  poppy,  known  as  "heraclion" 

70  In  B.  xix.  c.  53.     The  Papaver  rhoeas  of  Linnaeus  :  the  field  poppy, 
corn  poppy,  or  corn  rose. 

71  Theophrastus  says  that  it  has  just  the  taste  of  wild  endive.     Fee  re- 
marks that  the  peasants  of  Treves  eat  the  leaves  of  this  poppy  while  young. 

72  The  Glaucium  Corniculatum  of  Persoon;  the  horned  poppy,  or  glau- 
ciura.     This,  Fee  remarks,  is  not  a  poppy  in  reality,  but  a  species  of  the 
genus  Chelidonium.     The  juice  is  an  irritating  poison,  and  the  seed  is  said 
to  act  as  an  emetic.  73  "  Argema."  74  "  By  the  sea-shore." 

75  Not  a  poppy,  but  the  Euphorbia  esula  of  Linnaeus,  a  spurge.    The 

Chap.  80.]         THE   POPPY    CALLED    TITHYHALON.  2/9 

by  some  persons,  and  as  "  aphron  "  by  others.  The  leaves  of 
it,  when  seen  from  a  distance,  have  all  the  appearance  of  spar- 
rows ;76  the  root  lies  on  the  surface  of  the  ground,  and  the  seed 
lias  exactly  the  colour  of  foam.77  This  plant  is  used  for  the 
purpose  of  bleaching  linen 78  cloths  in  summer.  It  is  bruised 
in  a  mortar  for  epilepsy,  being  given  in  white  wine,  in  doses 
of  one  acetabulum,  and  acting  as  an  emetic. 

This  plant  is  extremely  useful,  also,  for  the  composition  of 
the  medicament  known  as  "  diacodion,"79  and  "  arteriace." 
This  preparation  is  made  with  one  hundred  and  twenty  heads80 
of  this  or  any  other  kind  of  wild  poppy,  steeped  for  two  days 
in  three  sextarii  of  rain  water,  after  which  they  are  boiled  in 
it.  You  must  then  dry  the  heads;  which  done,  boil  them 
down  with  honey  to  one  half,  at  a  slow  heat.  More  recently, 
there  have  been  added  to  the  mixture,  six  drachmae  of  saffron, 
liypocisthis,81  frankincense,  and  gum  acacia,  with  one  sextarius 
of  raisin  wine  of  Crete.  All  this,  however,  is  only  so  much 
ostentation  ;  for  the  virtue  of  this  simple  and  ancient  prepara- 
tion depends  solely  upon  the  poppy  and  the  honey. 


There  is  a  third  kind,  again,  called  "  tithymalon  j"82  some 

milky  juice  found  in  the  stalk  and  leaves  have  caused  it  to  be  classed 
among  the  poppies,  as  other  varieties  of  Euphorbiaceae  appear  to  have 
been,  among  the  wild  lettuces. 

76  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  ix.  c.  31,  compares  this  plant  with  the 
Struthium — (see  B.  xix.  c.  18).     Pliny,  or  his  scribes,  have  supposed  him 
to  be  speaking  of  the  arpovGoc,  or  "  sparrow" — hence  the  present  mistake. 
The  Struthium  itself  has  received  that  name  from  the  resemblance  which 
its  flower  bears  to  a  bird  with  the  wings  expanded. 

77  Hence  its  name,  "  aphron." 

78  See  B.  xix.  c.  4.    Pliny  has  here  mistaken  a  passage  of  Theophrastus, 
Hist.  Plant.  B.  ix.  c.  3i  ;  where  he  attributes  this  quality  to  the  Struthium, 
and  not  the  Heraclium. 

79  See  c.  76  of  this  Book.     It  is  difficult  to  conjecture  how  one  of  the 
Euphorbiacese,  a  powerful  drastic,  could  enter  into  the  composition  of  a 
soothing  preparation,  such  as  the  diacodion  is  said  to  have  been. 

80  "  Capitibus."     As  Fee  remarks,  the  capsules  of  Euphorbia  bear  no 
resemblance  whatever  to  the  heads  of  the  poppy.     Dioscorides,  B.  iv.  c.  67, 
similarly  confounds  these  two  plants. 

81  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  31. 

82  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  41.     Probably  the  Euphorbia  paralias  of  Linnaeus,  or 
Sea  euphorbia.     Its  medicinal  properties  are  similar  to  those  of  the  Eu- 
phorbia esula  above  mentioned. 


persons  give  it  the  name  of  "  meeon,"  others  of  "  paralion." 
It  has  a  white  leaf,  resembling  that  of  flax,  and  a  head  the  size 
of  a  bean.  It  is  gathered  when  the  vine  is  in  blossom,  and 
dried  in  the  shade.  The  seed,  taken  in  drink,  purges  the 
bowels,  the  dose  being  half  an  acetabulum,  in  honied  wine. 
The  head  of  every  species  of  poppy,  whether  green  or  dry,  used 
as  a  fomentation,  assuages  defluxions83  of  the  eyes.  Opium,  if 
taken  in  pure  wine  immediately  after  the  sting  of  a  scorpion, 
prevents  any  dangerous  results.  Some  persons,  however,  at- 
tribute this  virtue  to  the  black  poppy  only,  the  head  or  leaves 
being  beaten  up  for  the  purpose. 



There  is  a  wild  purslain,84  too,  called  "peplis,"  not  much 
superior  in  its  virtues  to  the  cultivated 85  kind,  of  which  such  ; 
remarkable  properties  are  mentioned.  It  neutralizes  the  effects, 
it  is  said,  of  poisoned  arrows,  and  the  venom  of  the  serpents 
known  as  haemorrhois  and  prester  ;86  taken  with  the  food  and 
applied  to  the  wound,  it  extracts  the  poison.  The  juice,  too,  * 
they  say,  taken  in  raisin  wine,  is  an  antidote  for  henbane. 
When  the  plant  itself  cannot  be  procured,  the  seed  of  it  is 
found  to  be  equalty  efficacious.  It  is  a  corrective,  also,  of  im- 
purities in  water ;  and  beaten  up  in  wine  and  applied  topically, 
it  is  a  cure  for  head-ache  and  ulcers  of  the  head.  Chewed  in 
combination  with  honey,  it  is  curative  of  other  kinds  of  sores. 
It  is  similarly  applied  to  the  region  of  the  brain  in  infants,  and 
in  cases  of  umbilical  hernia ;  as  also  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes, 
in  persons  of  all  ages,  being  applied  to  the  forehead  and  tem- 
ples with  polenta.  If  employed  as  a  liniment  for  the  eyes, 
milk  and  honey  are  added,  and  when  used  for  proptosis 87  of 

83  The  fructiferous  heads  of  the  Euphorbiaceee,  thus  employed,  would, 
as  Fee  remarks,  be  productive  of  most  disastrous  results. 

84  The  Euphorbia  peplis  of  Linnosus. 

85  See  B.  xiii.  c.  40.     By  Dioscorides,  B.  iv.  c.  165,  all  these  virtues  are 
attributed  exclusively  to  the  cultivated  purslain.     Indeed,  there  is  no  ana- 
logy between  the  properties  of  the  two  plants ;  though  neither  of  them 
is  possessed  of  the  wonderful  virtues  as  antidotes  here  mentioned,  and  they 
would  only  increase  the  sufferings  of  asthmatic  patients. 

86  As  to  this  serpent,  see  Lucan's  Pharsalia,  B.  ix.  1.  722,  et  seq. 

87  A  kind  of  spreading  tumour,  which,  according  to  Scribonius  Largus, 
would  appear  as  if  about  to  force  the  eye  out  of  the  socket.     Fee  remarks, 
that  this  malady  is  no  longer  known. 

Chap.  81.]  PORCILLACA.    OR   PTJJISLAIK.  281 

the  eyes,  the  leaves  are  beaten  up  with  bean-shells.  In  com- 
bination with  polenta,  salt,  and  vinegar,  it  is  employed  as  a 
fomentation  for  blisters. 

Chewed  raw,  purslain  reduces  ulcerations  of  the  mouth  and 
gum-boils,  and  cures  tooth-ache ;  a  decoction  of  it  is  good,  too, 
for  ulcers  of  the  tonsils.  Some  persons  have  added  a  little 
myrrh  to  it,  when  so  employed.  Chewed,  it  strengthens  such 
teeth  as  may  happen  to  be  loose,  dispels  crudities,  imparts  ad- 
ditional strength  to  the  voice,  and  allays  thirst.  Used  with  nut- 
galls,  linseed,  and  honey,  in  equal  proportions,  it  assuages  pains 
in  the  neck ;  and,  combined  with  honey  or  Cimolian  chalk,  it  is 
good  for  diseases  of  the  mamillae.  The  seed  of  it,  taken  with 
honey,  is  beneficial  for  asthma.  Eaten  in  salads,89  this  plant 
is  very  strengthening  to  the  stomach.  In  burning  fevers,  ap- 
plications of  it  are  made  with  polenta ;  in  addition  to  which, 
if  chewed,  it  will  cool  and  refresh  the  intestines.  It  arrests 
vomiting,  also,  and  for  dysentery  and  abscesses,  it  is  eaten  with 
vinegar,  or  else  taken  with  cummin  in  drink  :  boiled,  it  is  good 
for  tenesmus.  Taken  either  in  the  food  or  drink,  it  is  good  for 
epilepsy  ;  and,  taken  in  doses  of  one  acetabulum  in  boiled 
wine,90  it  promotes  the  menstrual  discharge.  Employed,  also, 
as  a  liniment  with  salt,  it  is  used  as  a  remedy  for  fits  of  hot 
gout  and  erysipelas. 

The  juice  of  this  plant,  taken  in  drink,  strengthens  the  kid- 
neys and  bladder,  and  expels  intestinal  worms.  In  conjunc- 
tion with  oil,  it  is  applied,  with  polenta,  to  assuage  the  pain 
of  wounds,  and  it  softens  indurations  of  the  sinews.  Metro- 
dorus,  who  wrote  an  Abridgment  of  Botany,91  says  that  it  should 
be  given  after  delivery,  to  accelerate  the  lochial  discharge.  It 
is  also  an  antaphrodisiac,  and  prevents  the  recurrence  of  las- 
civious  dreams.  One  of  the  principal  personages  of  Spain, 
whose  son  has  been  Praetor,  is  in  the  habit  of  carrying  the  root 
of  it,  to  my  knowledge,  suspended  by  a  string  from  his  neck, 
except  when  he  is  taking  the  bath,  for  an  incurable  affection 
of  the  uvula ;  a  precaution  by  which  he  has  been  spared  all 

I  have  found  it  stated,  too,  in  some  authors,  that  if  the  head 
is  rubbed  with  a  liniment  of  this  plant,  there  will  be  no  de- 

88    See  B.  xxxv.  c.  57.  89  "  Acetariis." 

90  "  Sapa."     Grape-juice,  boiled  down  to  one  third. 

'  ' 


fluxions  perceptible  the  whole  year  through.     It  is  generally 
thought,  however,  that  purslain  weakens  the  sight. 


There  is  no  wild  coriander 92  to  be  found ;  the  best,  it  is 
generally  agreed,  is  that  of  Egypt.  Taken  in  drink  and  ap- 
plied to  the  wound,  it  is  a  remedy  for  the  sting 93  of  one  kind 
of  serpent,  known  as  the  amphisbsena  :94  pounded,  it  is  healing 
also  for  other  wounds,  as  well  as  for  epinyctis  and  blisters. 
Employed  in  the  same  state  with  honey  or  raisins,  it  disperses 
all  tumours  and  gatherings,  and,  beaten  up  in  vinegar,  it  re- 
moves abscesses  of  an  inflammatory  nature.  Some  persons 
recommend  three  grains  of  it  to  be  taken  for  tertian  fevers,  just 
before  the  fit  comes  on,  or  else  in  larger  quantities,  to  be  bruised 
and  applied  to  the  forehead.  There  are  others,  again,  who 
think  that  it  is  attended  with  excellent  results,  to  put  coriander 
under  the  pillow  before  sunrise. 

While  green,  it  is  possessed  of  very  cooling  and  refreshing 
properties.  Combined  with  honey  or  raisins,  it  is  an  excellent 
remedy  for  spreading  ulcers,  as  also  for  diseases  of  the  testes,  i 
burns,  carbuncles,  and  maladies  of  the  ears.  Applied  with 
woman's  milk,  it  is  good  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes ;  and  for 
fluxes  of  the  belly  and  intestines,  the  seed  is  taken  with  water 
in  drink;  it  is  also  taken  in  drink  for  cholera,  with  rue. 
Coriander  seed,  used  as  a  potion  with  pomegranate  juice  and 
oil,  expels  worms  in  the  intestines. 

Xenocrates  states  a  very  marvellous  fact,  if  true ;  he  says, 
that  if  a  woman  takes  one  grain  of  this  seed,  the  menstrual 
discharge  will  be  retarded  one  day,  if  two  grains,  two  days, 
and  so  on,  according  to  the  number  of  grains  taken.  Marcus 
Varro  is  of  opinion,  that  if  coriander  is  lightly  pounded,  and 
sprinkled  over  it  with  cummin  and  vinegar,  all  kinds  of  meat 
may  be  kept  in  summer  without  spoiling. 


Orage,95  again,  is  found  both  wild  and  cultivated.     Pytha- 

92  The  Coriandrum  sativura  of  Linnaeus.     At  the  present  day,  wild  cori- 
ander is  commonly  found  in  Italy,  on  uncultivated  soils.    It  may  have  been 
naturalized,  however,  Fee  thinks,  since  the  time  of  Pliny. 

93  Nicander  says  also,  that  it  is  a  cure  for  the  stings  of  serpents  and 
scorpions,  but  there  is  no  truth  in  the  assertion.  94  See  B.  viii.  c.  35. 

95  The  Atriplex  hortensis  of  Linnaeus.     F£e  thinks  that  the  wild  atri- 

Chap.  84.]  THE    MALLOW.  283 

goras  has  accused  this  plant  of  producing  dropsy,  jaundice,  and 
paleness  of  the  complexion,  and  he  says  that  it  is  extremely 
difficult  of  digestion.  He  asserts,  also,  to  its  disparagement, 
that  every  thing  that  grows  near  it  in  the  garden  is  sure  to 
be  drooping  and  languid.  Diocles  and  Dionysius  have  added 
a  statement,  that  it  gives  birth  to  numerous  diseases,  and  that  it 
should  never  be  boiled  without  changing  the  water  repeatedly ; 
they  say,  too,  that  it  is  prejudicial  to  the  stomach,  and  that 
it  is  productive  of  freckles  and  pimples  on  the  skin. 

I  am  at  a  loss  to  imagine  why  Solo  of  Smyrna  has  stated  that 
this  plant  is  cultivated  in  Italy  with  the  greatest  difficulty. 
Hippocrates 96  prescribes  it  with  beet,  as  a  pessary  for  affec- 
tions of  the  uterus ;  and  Lycus  of  Neapolis  recommends  it  to 
be  taken  in  drink,  in  cases  of  poisoning  by  cantharides.  He 
is  of  opinion,  also,  that  either  raw  or  boiled,  it  may  be  advan- 
tageously employed  as  a  liniment  for  inflammatory  swellings, 
incipient  boils,  and  all  kinds  of  indurations  ;  and  that,  mixed 
with  oxymel  and  nitre,  it  is  good  for  erysipelas  and  gout.  This 
plant,  it  is  said,  will  bring  away  mal-formed  nails,  without 
producing  sores.  There  are  some  persons  who  give  orage-seed 
with  honey  for  jaundice,  and  rub  the  throat  and  tonsils  with 
it,  nitre  being  added  as  well.  They  employ  it,  also,  to  purge 
the  bowels,  and  use  the  seed,  boiled,  as  an  emetic,97  either  taken 
by  itself,  or  in  conjunction  with  mallows  or  lentils. 

Wild  orage  is  used  for  dyeing  the  hair,  as  well  as  the  other 
purposes  above  enumerated. 



Both  kinds  of  mallows,98  on  the  other  hand,  the  cultivated 
and  the  wild,  are  held  in  very  general  esteem.  These  kinds 
are  subdivided,  each  of  them,  into  two  varieties,  according  to 

plex  of  Pliny  is  some  kind  of  Chenopodium,  which  it  is  now  impossible  to 
identify.  Orage  is  more  of  an  aliment  than  a  medicament.  Applied  ex- 
ternally, it  is  soothing  and  emollient. 

96  De  Morb.  Mulier.  B.  ii.  c.  57. 

97  It  would  not  have  this  effect.     The  statements  here  given  relative  to 
the  virtues  of  orage  are,  in  general,  considered  to  be  correct. 

98  See  B.  xk.  c.  22. 


the  size  of  the  leaf.  The  cultivated  mallow  with  large  leaves 
is  known  to  the  Greeks  by  the  name  of  "  malope,"  "  the  other 
being  called  "  rnalaehe,"1 — from  the  circumstance,  it  is  gene- 
rally thought,  that  it  relaxes 2  the  bowels.  The  wild 3  mallow, 
again,  with  large  leaves  and  white  roots,  is  called  "  althaea," 
and  by  some  persons,  on  account  of  its  salutary  properties, 
"  plistolochia."4  Every  soil  in  which  mallows  are  sown,  is 
rendered  all  the  richer  thereby.  This  plant  is  possessed  of  re- 
markable virtues,5  as  a  cure  for  all  kinds  of  stings.6  those  of 
scorpions,  wasps,  and  similar  insects,  as  well  as  the  bite  of  the 
shrew-mouse,  more  particularly  ;  nay,  what  is  even  more  than 
this,  if  a  person  has  been  rubbed  with  oil  in  which  any  one  of 
the  mallows  has  been  beaten  up,  or  even  if  he  carries  them  on 
his  person,  he  will  never  be  stung.  A  leaf  of  mallow  put  upon 
a  scorpion,  will  strike  it  with  torpor. 

The  mallow  is  an  antidote,  also,  against  the  poisonpus  effects 
of  white 7  lead ;  and  applied  raw  with  saltpetre,  it  extracts 
all  kinds  of  pointed  bodies  from  the  flesh.  A  decoction  of  it 
with  the  root,  taken  in  drink,  neutralizes  the  poison  of  the 
sea-hare,8  provided,  as  some  say,  it  is  brought  off  the  stomach 
by  vomiting. 

Other  marvels  are  also  related  in  connection  with  the  mallow, 
but  the  most  surprising  thing  of  all  is,  that  if  a  person  takes 
half  a  cyathus  of  the  juice  of  any  one  of  them  daily,  he  will  be 

99  The  Malva  silvestris  of  Linnaeus,  or  wild  mallow. 

1  The  Malva  rotundifolia  of  Linnaeus,  or  round- leaved  mallow. 

2  From  jjLcjtXdaao),  to  " soften,"  or  "relax." 

3  These  wild  varieties  are  the  same  in  every  respect  as  the  cultivated 
kinds;  their  essential  characteristics  not  being  changed  by  cultivation. 
See  further  as  to  the  Althaea  or  marsh  mallow,  at  the  latter  end  of  this 

4  The  meaning  of  this  name  appears  to  be  unknown.     "  Pistolochia"  is 
a  not  uncommon  reading. 

5  Mallows  were  commonly  used  as  a  vegetable  by  the  ancients ;  and  are 
so  in  China  and  the  south  of  France,  at  the  present  day.     The  mucila- 
ginous principle  which  they  contain  renders  them  emollient  and  pectoral ; 
they  are  also  slightly  laxative. 

6  The  only  benefit  resulting  from  the  application  of  mallows  would  be 
the  reduction  of  the  inflammation  ;  the  plant  having  no  efficacy  whatever 
in  neutralizing  the  venom. 

7  Sub-carbonate  of  lead.     The  mallow  would  have  little  or  no  effect  in 
such  a  case. 

8  See  B.  ix.  c.  72,  and  B.  xxxii.  c.  3. 

Chap.  84.]  THE   MALLOW.  285 

exempt  from  all  diseases.9  Left  to  putrefy  in  wine,  mallows  are 
remedial  for  running  sores  of  the  head,  and,  mixed  with  honey, 
for  lichens  and  ulcerations  of  the  mouth  ;  a  decoction  of  the  root, 
too,  is  a  remedy  for  dandriff 10  of  the  head  and  looseness  of  the 
teeth.  With  the  root  of  the  mallow  which  has  a  single  stem,11 
it  is  a  good  plan  to  prick  the  parts  about  a  tooth  when  it  aches, 
until  the  pain  has  ceased.  With  the  addition  of  human  saliva, 
the  mallow  cleanses  scrofulous  sores,  imposthumes  of  the  parotid 
glands,  and  inflammatory  tumours,  without  producing  a  wound. 
The  seed  of  it,  taken  in  red  wine,  disperses  phlegm  and  relieves 
nausea ;  and  the  root,  attached  to  the  person  with  black  wool, 
is  a  remedy  for  affections  of  the  mamillae.  Boiled  in  milk,  and 
taken  as  a  pottage,  it  cures  a  cough  within  five  days. 

Sextius  Niger  says  that  mallows  are  prejudicial  to  the  sto- 
mach, and  Olympias,  the  Tlieban  authoress,  asserts  that,  em- 
ployed with  goose-grease,  they  are  productive  of  abortion. 
Some  persons  are  of  opinion,  that  a  good  handful  of  the  leaves, 
taken  in  oil  and  wine,  promotes  the  menstrual  discharge.  At 
all  events,  it  is  a  well-known  fact,  that  if  the  leaves  are  strewed 
beneath  a  woman  in  labour,  the  delivery  will  be  accelerated ; 
but  they  must  be  taken  away  immediately  after  the  birth,  or 
prolapsus  of  the  uterus  will  be  the  consequence.  Mallow-juice, 
also,  is  given  to  women  in  labour,  a  decoction  of  it  being  taken 
fasting  in  wine,  in  doses  of  one  hemina. 

Mallow  seed  is  attached  to  the  arms  of  patients  suffering 
from  spermatorrhoea ;  and,  so  naturally  adapted  is  this  plant 
for  the  promotion  of  lustfulness,  that  the  seed  of  the  kind  with 
a  single  stem,  sprinkled  upon  the  genitals,  will  increase  the 
sexual  desire  in  males  to  an  infinite  degree,  according  to 
Xenocrates ;  who  says,  too,  that  if  three  roots  are  attached  to 
the  person,  in  the  vicinity  of  those  parts,  they  will  be  produc- 
tive of  a  similar  result.  The  same  writer  informs  us  also,  that 
injections  of  mallows  are  good  for  tenesmus  and  dysentery,  and 
for  maladies  of  the  rectum  even,  if  used  as  a  fomentation 
only.  The  juice  is  given  warm  to  patients  afflicted  with  melan- 

9  The  same  was  said  in  the  middle  ages,  of  the  virtues  of  sage,  and  in 
more  recent  times  of  the  Panax  quinque folium,  the  Ginseng  of  the  Chinese. 

10  Q.  Serenus  Sammonicus  speaks  of  the  accumulation  of  dandriff  in  the 
hair  to  such  a  degree  as  to  form  a  noxious  malady.     He  also  mentions  the 
present  remedy  for  it. 

11  Some  commentators  have  supposed  this  to  be  the  Alcea  rosa  of  Lin- 
naeus ;  but  Fee  considers  this  opinion  to  be  quite  unfounded. 


cboly,  in  doses  of  three  cyathi,  and  to  insane  persons12  in  doses 
of  four.  One  hemina  of  the  decoction  is  prescribed,  also,  for 
epilepsy.13  A  warm  decoction  of  the  juice  is  employed,  too,  as 
a  fomentation  for  calculus,  flatulency,  gripings  of  the  stomach, 
and  opisthotony.  The  leaves  are  boiled,  and  applied  with  oil, 
as  a  poultice  for  erysipelas  and  burns,  and  raw,  with  bread,  to 
arrest  inflammation  in  wounds.  A  decoction  of  mallows  is 
beneficial  for  affections  of  the  sinews  and  bladder,  and  for 
gnawing  pains  of  the  intestines ;  taken,  too,  as  an  aliment,  or 
an  injection,  they  are  relaxing  to  the  uterus,  and  the  decoction, 
taken  with  oil,  facilitates  the  passage  of  the  urine.14 

The  root  of  the  althaea 15  is  even  more  efficacious  for  all  the 
purposes  above  enumerated,  and  for  convulsions  and  ruptures 
more  particularly.  Boiled  in  water,  it  arrests  looseness  of  the 
bowels ;  and  taken  in  white  wine,  it  is  a  cure  for  scrofulous 
sores,  imposthumes  of  the  parotid  glands,  and  inflammations  of  . 
the  mamillsD.  A  decoction  of  the  leaves  in  wine,  applied  as  a 
liniment,  disperses  inflammatory  tumours  ;  and  the  leaves,  first 
dried,  and  then  boiled  in  milk,  are  a  speedy  cure  for  a  cough, 
however  inveterate.  Hippocrates  prescribes  a  decoction  of  the  >' 
root  to  be  drunk  by  persons  wounded  or  thirsty  from  loss  of 
blood,  and  the  plant  itself  as  an  application  to  wounds,  with 
honey  and  resin.  He  also  recommends  it  to  be  employed  in  a 
similar  manner  for  contusions,  sprains,  and  tumours  of  the 
muscles,  sinews,  and  joints,  and  prescribes  it  to  be  taken  in 
wine  for  asthma  and  dysentery.  It  is  a  singular  thing,  that 
water  in  which  this  root  has  been  put,  thickens  when  exposed 
in  the  open  air,  and  congeals 16  like  ice.  The  more  recently, 
however,  it  has  been  taken  up,  the  greater  are  the  virtues  of 
the  root.17 

12  It  would  be  of  no  use  whatever  in  such  cases,  Fee  says. 

13  Without  any  good  results,  Fee  says. 

14  "  Permeatus  suaves  facit."     We  can  only  make  a  vague  guess  at  the 
meaning ;  as  the  passage  is,  most  probably,  corrupt. 

15  The  Althaea  officinalis  of  Linnaeus,  or  marsh-mallow.    The  medicinal 
properties  are  similar  to  those  of  the  other  varieties  of  the  mallow. 

16  It  is  the  fact,  that  water,  in  which  mallows  are  steeped,  owing  to  the 
mucilage  of  the  root,  assumes  the  appearance  of  milk. 

17  Fee  says  that  this  milky  appearance  of  the  water  does  not  depend  on 
the  freshness  of  the  root ;  as  it  is  only  the  aqueous  particles  that  are  dried 
up,  the  mucilage  preserving  its  chemical  properties  in  their  original  in- 

Chap.  85.]  WILD   LA.PATHTJM   OE   OXALIS.  287 


Lapathum,  too,  lias  pretty  nearly  the  same  properties. 
There  is  a  wild18  variety,  known  to  some  as  "  oxalis," 
very  similar  in  taste  to  the  cultivated  kind,  with  pointed 
leaves,  a  colour  like  that  of  white  beet,  and  an  extremely 
diminutive  root :  our  people  call  it  "rumex,"19  while  others, 
again,  give  it  the  name  of  "  lapathum  cantherinum."  20Hixed 
with  axle-grease,  this  plant  is  very  efficacious  for  scrofu- 
lous sores.  There  is  another  kind,  again,  hardly  forming 
a  distinct  variety,  known  as  "  oxylapathon,"21  which  resembles 
the  cultivated  kind  even  more  than  the  last,  though  the 
leaves  are  more  pointed  and  redder :  it  grows  only  in  marshy 
spots.  Some  authors  are  found  who  speak  of  a  "  hydrola- 
pathon,"--  which  grows  in  the  water,  they  say.  There  is  also 
another  variety,  known  as  "  hippolapathon,"23  larger  than  the 
cultivated  kind,  whiter,  and  more  compact. 

The  wild  varieties  of  the  lapathum  are  a  cure 24  for  the 
.stings  of  scorpions,  and  protect  those  who  carry  the  plant  on 
their  person  from  being  stung.  A  decoction  of  the  root  in 
vinegar,  employed  as  a  gargle,  is  beneficial  to  the25  teeth,  and 
if  drunk,  is  a  cure  for  jaundice.  The  seed  is  curative  of  the 
most  obstinate  maladies  of  the  stomach.26  The  root  of  hip- 
polapathum,  in  particular,  has  the  property  of  bringing  off 
malformed  nails  ;  and  the  seed,  taken  in  wine,  in  doses  of  two 
drachmae,  is  a  cure  for  dysentery.  The  seed  of  oxylapathum, 

18  The  Rumex  acetosella  of  Linnaeus,  or  small  sorrel. 

19  See  B.  xix.  c.  60.  20  "  Horse  Lapathum." 

21  Or  "  Lapathum  with  pointed  leaves ;"  the  Rumex  acutus  of  Linnaeus. 

22  Qr  K  water  lapathum  ;"  the  Rumex  aquaticus  of  Linnaeus. 

23  Or  "  horse  lapathum ;"  the  Rumex  patientia  of  Linnaeus  :  or  dock, 
as  Fee  thinks  :  though,  according  to  Sprengel,  the  cultivated  lapathum  was 
identical  with  that  plant. 

24  The  medicinal  properties  of  the  lapathum  vary  according  to  the  parts 
of  the  plant  employed.    The  leaves  and  stalks  of  the  acid  kinds  of  Rumex 
are  refreshing,  and  slightly  diuretic  and  laxative.     The  action  of  those 
which  are  not  acid  is  sudorific,  antiherpetic,  and  depurative. 

-5  Fee  says  that  it  would  be  of  no  benefit  whatever  for  tooth -ache. 
26  It  is  not  possessed  of  any  stomachic  properties,  Fee  remarks* 


washed  in  rain-water,  with  the  addition  of  a  piece  of  gum 
acacia,  about  the  size  of  a  lentil,  is  good  for  patients  troubled 
with  spitting  of  blood.27  Most  excellent  lozenges  are  made  of 
the  leaves  and  root  of  this  plant,  with  the  addition  of  nitre 
and  a  little  incense.  When  wanted  for  use,  they  are  first 
steeped  in  vinegar. 



As  to  garden  lapathum,28  it  is  good  in  liniments  on  the 
forehead  for  defluxioiis  of  the  eyes.  The  root  of  it  cures 
lichens  and  leprous  sores,  and  a  decoction  of  it  in  wine  is 
remedial  for  scrofulous  swellings,  imposthumes  of  the  parotid 
glands,  and  calculus  of  the  bladder.  Taken  in  wine  it  is  a 
cure  for  affections  of  the  spleen,  and  employed  as  a  fomenta- 
tion, it  is  equally  good  for  cceliac  affections,  dysentery,  and  • 
tenesmus.  For  all  these  purposes,  the  juice  of  lapathum  is 
found  to  be  even  still  more  efficacious.  It  acts  as  a  car- 
minative and  diuretic,  and  dispels  films  on  the  eyes :  put 
into  the  bath,  or  else  rubbed  upon  the  bod}^  without  oil,  • 
before  taking  the  bath,  it  effectually  removes  all  itching  sen- 
sations. The  root  of  it,  chewed,  strengthens  the  teeth,  and  a 
decoction  of  it  in  wine  arrests29  looseness  of  the  stomach : 
the  leaves,  on  the  other  hand,  relax  it. 

Not  to  omit  any  particulars,  Solo  has  added  to  the  above 
varieties  a  bulapathon,30  which  differs  only  from  the  others  in 
the  length  of  the  root.  This  root,  taken  in  wine,  is  very 
beneficial  for  dysentery. 



Mustard,   of  which  we  have   mentioned 31   three  different 

27  It  would  be  of  no  utility  in  such  a  case,  Fee  says. 

28  Supposed  by  Fee  to  be  the  same  as  the  wild  lapathum  of  the  last 
Chapter,  the  Rumex  acetosella  of  Linnaeus ;  small  sorrel. 

39  Fee  remarks  that  no  part  of  lapathum  is  naturally  astringent. 

so  Qr  « ox  lapathum."  Fee  considers  this  to  be  identical  with  the 
"  hippolapathon  "  of  the  last  Chapter. 

31  In  U.  xix.  c.  54.  Fee  identifies  these  three  varieties  of  mustard  as 
follows  ;  the  slender-stemmed  mustard  of  Pliny  he  identifies  with  the  Sina- 
pis  alba  of  Linnaeus,  mustard  with  white  seeds.  The  mustard  mentioned 
as  having  the  leaves  of  rape  he  considers  to  be  the  same  as  the  Sinapis 

Chop.   87.]  MUSTARD.  289 

kinds,  when  speaking  of  the  garden  herbs,  is  ranked  by  Py- 
thagoras among  the  very  first  of  those  plants  the  pungency  of 
which  mounts  upwards ;  for  there  is  none  to  be  found  more 
penetrating  to  the  brain  and  nostrils. 

Pounded  with  vinegar,  mustard  is  employed  as  a  liniment 
for  the  stings  of  serpents  and  scorpions,  and  it  effectually  neu- 
tralizes the  poisonous  properties  of  fungi.  To  cure  an  immo- 
derate secretion  of  phlegm  it  is  kept  in  the  mouth  till  ic  melts, 
or  else  it  is  mixed  with  hydromel,  and  employed  as  a  gargle. 
Mustard  is  chewed  for  tooth-ache,  and  is  taken  as  a  gargle 
with  oxymel  for  affections  of  the  uvula;  it  is  very  beneficial, 
also,  for  all  maladies  of  the  stomach.  Taken  with  the  food,  it 
facilitates  expectoration31'  from  the  lungs :  it  is  given,  too,  for 
asthma  and  epileptic  fits,  in  combination  with  cucumber  seed. 
It  has  the  effect  of  quickening  the  senses,  and  effectually 
clears  the  head  by  sneezing,  relaxes  the  stomach,  and  promotes 
the  menstrual  discharge  and  the  urinary  secretions  :  beaten  up 
with  figs  and  cummin,  in  the  proportion  of  one-third  of  each, 
ingredient,  it  is  used  as  an  external  application  for  dropsy. 

Mixed  with  vinegar,  mustard  resuscitates  by  its  powerful 
odour  persons  who  have  swooned  in  fits  of  epilepsy  or 
lethargy,  as  well  as  females  suffering  from  hysterical  suffoca- 
tions. For  the  cure  of  lethargy  tordylon  is  added — that  being 
the  name  given  to  the  seed  of  hartwort33 — and  if  the  lethar- 
gic sleep  should  happen  to  be  very  profound,  an  application 
of  it,  with  figs  and  vinegar,  is  made  to  the  legs,  or  to  the 
head34  even.  Used  as  an  external  application,  mustard  is  a, 
cure  for  inveterate  pains  of  the  chest,  loins,  hips,  shoulders, 
and,  in  general,  for  all  deep-seated  pains  in  any  part  of  the 
body,  raising  blisters35  by  its  caustic  properties.  In  cases  of 
extreme  indurations  of  the  skin,  the  mustard  is  applied,  to  the 
part  without  figs;  and  a  cloth  is  employed  doubled,  where  it  is 
apprehended  that  it  may  burn  too  powerfully.  It  is  used 

nigra  of  Linnaeus,  mustard  with  black  seed ;  and  that  with  the  leaf  of  the 
rocket  he  identifies  with  the  Sinapis  erucoides  of  Linnaeus,  the  Eruca 
silvestris  of  Gessner,  or  rocket-leaved  mustard. 

82  In  reality,  mustard  is  injurious  for  all  affections  of  the  chest  and  throat. 

33  "Seseli." 

34  A  sinapism  applied  to  the  head,  Fee  remarks,  in  cases  of  cerebral 
congestion,  would  very  soon  cause  death. 

35  Mustard  poultices  are  used  extensively  at  the  present  day  for  blisters 
on  the  chest. 

VOL.    IT.  TJ 

2.00  PUNT'S    NATURAL    HISTORY.  [Hook  XX. 

also,  combined  with  red-earth/6  for  alopecy,  itch-scabs,  le- 
prosy, phthiriasis,  tetanus,  and  opisthotony.  They  employ 
it  also  as  a  liniment  with  honey  for  styes  ^  on  the  eyelids 
and  films  on  the  eyes. 

The  juices  of  mustard  are  extracted  in  three  different 
ways,  in  earthen  vessels  in  which  it  is  left  to  dry  gradually 
in  the  sun.  From  the  thin  stem  of  the  plant  there  exudes 
also  a  milky  juice,38  which  when  thus  hardened  is  remedial 
for  tooth-ache.  The  seed  and  root,  after  they  have  been  left 
to  steep  in  must,  are  beaten  up  together  in  a  mortar;  and  a 
good  handful  of  the  mixture  is  taken  to  strengthen 89  the 
throat,  stomach,  eyes,  head,  and  all  the  senses.  This  mixture 
is  extremely  good,  too,  for  fits  of  lassitude  in  females,  being 
one  of  the  most  wholesome  medicines  in  existence.  Taken  in 
vinegar,  mustard  disperses  calculi  in  the  bladder;  and,  in  com-  ; 
bination  with  honey  and  goose-grease,  or  else  Cyprian  wax, 
it  is  employed  as  a  liniment  for  livid  spots  and  bruises.  From 
the  seed,  first  steeped  in  olive- oil,  and  then  subjected  to 
pressure,  an  oil  is  extracted,  which  is  employed  for  rigidity  >' 
of  the  sinews,  and  chills  and  numbness  in  the  loins  and  hips. 


It  is  said  that  adarca,  of  which  we  have  already  made 
mention40  when  speaking  of  the  forest- trees,  has  a  similar 
nature il  to  that  of  mustard,  and  is  productive  of  the  same 
effects  :  it  grows  upon  the  outer  coat  of  reeds,  below  the  head. 



Most  medical  writers  have  spoken  in  high  terms  of  marru- 

36  "  Rubrica."  37  "  Scabras  genas." 

3*  This  is  not  th«  fact ;  no  juice  flows  from  the  stem  which  is  capable 
of  becoming  concrete. 

39  As  a  tonic,  mustard-seed  is  commonly  taken  whole  at  the  present  day. 

40  In  B.  xvi.  c.  66.     In  B.  xxxii.  c.  52,  we  shall  find  Pliny  speaking  of 
this  substance  under  the  name  of  "  Calamochnus."      Dioscorides,  B.  v. 
c.  137,  speaks  of  adarca  as  growing  in  Cappadocia,  and  as  being  a  salt  sub- 
stance which  adheres  to  reeds  in  time  of  drought. 

41  This,  Fee  says,  cannot  possibly  be  the  fact,  whatever  adarca  may 
really  have  been. 

Chap.  89.]  MAUltlTBIUM   OR   P11A6TOK.  291 

bium,  or  horehound,  as  a  plant  of  the  very  greatest  utility. 
Among  the  Greeks,  it  is  called  *'  prasioo  *'42  by  some,  by 
others  "  iinostrophon,"43  and  by  others,  again,  "  philopais"44  or 
f<  philochares  :"45  it  is  a  plant  too  well  known  to  require  any 
description.46  The  leaves 4;  and  seed  beaten  up,  together,  are 
good  for  the  stings  of  serpents,  pains  of  the  chest  and  side, 
and  inveterate  coughs.  The  branches,  too,  boiled  in  water 
with  panic,48  so  as  to  modify  its  acridity,  are  remarkably  useful 
for  persons  troubled  with  spitting 49  of  blood.  Horehound  is 
applied  also,  with  grease,  to  scrofulous  swellings.  Some 
persons  recommend  for  a  cough,  a  pinch  of  the  fresh  seed  with 
two  fingers,  boiled  with  a  handful  of  spelt w  and  a  little  oil 
and  salt,  the  mixture  to  be  taken  fasting.  Others,  again,  regard 
us  quite  incomparable  for  a  similar  purpose  an  extract  of  the 
juices  of  horehound  and  fennel.  Taking  three  sextarii  of  the 
extract,  they  boil  it  down  to  two,  and  then  add  one  sextarius 
of  honey ;  after  which  they  again  boil  it  down  to  two,  and 
administer  one  spoonful  of  the  preparation  daily,  in  one  cyathus 
of  water. 

Beaten  up  with  honey,  horehound  is  particularly  beneficial 
for  affections  of  the  male  organs ;  employed  with  vinegar,  it 
cleanses  lichens,  and  is  very  salutary  for  ruptures,  convul- 
sions, spasms,  and  contractions  of  the  sinews.  Taken  in  drink 
with  salt  and  vinegar,  it  relaxes  the  bowels,  promotes  the 
menstrual  discharge,  and  accelerates  the  after-birth.  Dried, 
powdered,  and  taken  with  honey,  it  is  extremely  efficacious 

43  The  "  grass-green"  plant.          *3  The  "twkted  flax  "  plant. 

44  "  Lad's-love."  *5  "  Love  and  grace,"  apparently. 

46  There  are  two  kinds  of  prasion  mentioned  by  Dioscoridcs,  and  by 
Pliny  at  the  end  of  the  present  Chapter,  one  of  Avhich  Fee  is  inclined  to 
identify  with  the  Ballota  nigra  of  Linnaeus,  the  fetid  ballota ;  and  the  other 
with  the  Marrubium  vulgare  of  Linnaeus,  the  white  horehound.     Bochart 
conjectures  that  the  word  "marrubium  "  had  a  Punic  origin,  but  Linnams 
thinks  that  it  comes  from  "  Maria  urbs,"  the  "  City  of  the  Marshes,"  si- 
tuate on  Lake  Fucinus,  in  Italy. 

47  Though  much  used  in  ancient  times,  horehound  is  but  little  employed 
in  medicine  at  the  present  day  :  though  it*  medicinal  value,   Fee  thinks, 
is  very  considerable.     Candied  horehound  is  employed  to  some  extent  ill 
this  country,  as  a  pectoral. 

48  See  B.  xviii.  c.  25. 

49  Its  medicinal  properties,  as  recognized  in  modern  times,  are  in  most 
respects  dissimilar  to  those  mentioned  by  Pliny. 

50  »  p.dTf» 

o  2 


for  a  dry  cough,  as  also  for  gangrenes  and  hang-nails.61  The 
juice,  too,  taken  with  honey,  is  good  for  the  ears  and  nos- 
trils :  it  is  a  remedy  also  for  jaundice,  and  diminishes  the 
bilious  secretions.  Among  the  few  antidotes52  for  poisons,  it 
is  one  of  the  very  best  known. 

The  plant  itself,  taken  with  iris  and  honey,  purges  the  sto- 
mach and  promotes  expectorations :  it  acts,  also,  as  a  strong 
diuretic,  though,  at  the  same  time,  care  must  be  taken  not  to 
use  it  when  the  bladder  is  ulcerated  and  the  kidneys  are  af- 
fected. It  is  said,  too,  that  the  juice  of  horehound  improves 
the  eyesight.  Castor  speaks  of  two  varieties  of  it,  the  black 
horehound  and  the  white,  which  last  he  considers  to  be  the 
best.  He  puts  the  juice  of  it  into  an  empty  eggshell,  and  then 
mixes  the  egg  with  it,  together  with  honey,  in  equal  pro- 
portions:  this  preparation  used  warm,  he  says,  will  bring 
abscesses  to  a  head,  and  cleanse  and  he;il  them.  Beaten  up, , 
too,  with  stale  axle-grease  and  applied  topically,  he  says,  hore- 
hound is  a  cure  for  the  bite  of  a  dog. 


Wild  thyme,  it  is  said,  borrows  its  name,  "serpyllum,"  from 
the  fact  that  it  is  a  creeping53  plant,  a  property  peculiar  to  the 
wild  kind,  that  which  grows  in  rocky  places  more  particularly. 
The  cultivated54  thyme  is  not  a  creeping  plant,  but  grows  up- 
wards, as  much  a  palm  in  height.  That  which  springs  up 
spontaneously,  grows  the  most  luxuriantly,  its  leaves  and 
branches  being  whiter  than  those  of  the  other  kinds.  Thyme 
is  efficacious  as  a  remedy  for  the  stings  of  serpents,  the  cen- 
chris55  more  particularly ;  also  for  the  sting  of  the  scolopendra, 
both  sea  and  land,  the  leaves  and  branches  being  boiled  for  the 
purpose  in  wine.  Burnt,  it  puts  to  night  all  venomous  crea- 

51  "Pterygia."     "  Pterygiutn"  is  also  a  peculiar  disease  of  the  eye. 

52  "  Inter  pauca."     He  has  mentioned,   however,  a  vast  number  of  so- 
called  antidotes  or  remedies.    It  is  just  possible  that  he  may  mean,  *'  There 
are  few  antidotes  like  it  for  efficacy." 

53  "  A  serpendo  :"  the  Thymus  serpyllum  of  Linnaeus. 

w  The  Thymus  zygis  of  Linn  sens :  the  Serpyllum  folio  thymi  of  C. 
Ttauhin.  Dioscorides  says  that  it  is  the  cultivated  thyme  that  is  a  creeping 

65  See  Lucan's  Pharsalia,  B.  ix.  1.  712,  et  seq. 

Chap.  91.]  SISYMBRITTM    OB   THTMBRJEFM.  293 

tures  by  its  smell,   and  it  is  particularly  beneficial  as  an  anti- 
dote to  the  venom  of  marine  animals. 

A  decoction  of  it  in  vinegar  is  applied  for  head-ache,  with 
rose  oil,  to  the  temples  and  forehead,  as  also  for  phrenitis  and 
lethargy  :  it  is  given,  too,  in  doses  of  four  drachmae,  for  grip- 
ings  of  the  stomach,  strangury,  quinsy,  and  fits  of  vomiting. 
It  is  taken  in  water,  also,  for  liver  complaints.  The  leaves  are 
given"  in  doses  of  four  oboli,  in  vinegar,  for  diseases  of  the 
spleen.  Beaten  up  in  two  cyathi  of  oxymel,  it  is  used  for 
spitting  of  blood. 



"Wild55*  sisyrabrium,  by  some  persons  called  "  thymbraeum," 
does  not  grow  beyond  a  foot  in  height.  The  kind58  which 
grows  in  watery  places,  is  similar  to  nasturtium,  and  they57 
are  both  of  them  efficacious  for  the  stings  of  certain  insects, 
such  as  hornets  and  the  like.  That  which  grows  in  dry  loca- 
lities is  odoriferous,  and  is  employed58  for  wreaths  :  the  leaf 
of  it  is  narrower  than  in  the  other  kind.  They  both  of  them 
alleviate  head-ache,  and  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  Philinus  says. 
Some  persons,  however,  employ  bread  in  addition ;  while 
others,  again,  use  a  decoction  of  the  plant  by  itself  in  wine, 
It  is  a  cure,  also,  for  epin3Tctis,  and  removes  spots  on  the  face 
in  females,  by  the  end  of  four  days;  for  which  purpose,  it  is 
applied  at  night  and  taken  off  in  the  day-time.  It  arrests 
vomiting,  hiccup,  gripings,  and  fluxes  of  the  stomach,  whether 
taken  with  the  food,  or  the  juice  extracted  and  given  in  drink. 

This  plant,  however,  should  never  be  eaten  by  pregnant 
women,  except  in  cases  where  the  foetus  is  dead,  for  the  very 
application  of  it  is  sufficient  to  produce  abortion.  Taken  with 
wine,  it  is  diuretic,  and  the  wild  variety  expels  calculi  even. 
For  persons  necessitated  to  sit  up  awake,  an  infusion  of  it  in 
vinegar  is  applied  as  a  liniment  to  the  head. 

55*  The  Sisymbrion  menta  of  Gerard ;  the  Menta  hirsuta  of  Decandolle, 
prickly  mint.  Spreugel,  however,  takes  it  to  be  the  Menta  silvestris  of 
modern  Botany. 

56  The  Sisymbrion  nasturtium  of  Linnaeus. 

57  Apparently  the  Sisymbrium  just  mentioned,  find  the  Nasturtium. 

58  Ovid,  Fasti,  B.  iv.  1.  869,  speaks  of  Sisymbrium  as  being  esteemed  by 
the  Roman  ladies  for  its  agreeable  smell. 



Linseed59  is  not  only  used  in  combination  with  other  sub- 
stances,  but,  employed  by  itself,  it  disperses  spots  on  the  face 
in  women  :  its  juice,  too,  is  very  beneficial  to  the  sight. 
Combined  with  incense  and  water,  or  else  with  myrrh  and 
wine,  it  is  a  cure  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  and  employed 
with  honey,  grease,  or  wax,  for  imposthumes  of  the  parotid 
glands.  Prepared60  like  polenta,  it  is  good  for  fluxes  of  the 
stomach ;  and  a  decoction  of  it  in  water  and  oil,  applied  topi- 
cally with  anise,  is  prescribed  for  quinsy.  It  is  sometimes 
used  parched,  also,  to  arrest  looseness  of  the  bowels,  and  ap- 
plications of  it  are  used,  with  vinegar,  for  cceliac  affections 
and  dysentery.  It  is  eaten  with  raisins,  also,  for  pains  in  the 
liver,  and  excellent  electuaries  are  made  of  it  for  the  treatment 
of  phthisis. 

Linseed- meal,  with  the  addition  of  nitre,  salt,  or  ashes, 
softens  rigidities  of  the  muscles,  sinews,  joints,  and  vertebrae, 
us  well  as  of  the  membranous  tissues  of  the  brain.  Em- 
ployed with  figs,  linseed-meal  ripens  abscesses  and  brings  them; 
to  a  head  :  mixed  with  the  root  of  wild  cucumber,  it  extracts61 
all  foreign  bodies  from  the  flesh,  as  well  as  splinters  of  broken 
bones.  A  decoction  of  linseed-meal  in  wine  prevents  ulcers  from 
spreading,  and  mixed  with  hone)%  it  is  remedial  for  pituitous 
eruptions.  Used  with  nasturtium,  in  equal  quantities,  it 
rectifies63  malformed  nails ;  mixed  with  resin  and  myrrh,  it 
cures  affections  of  the  testes  and  hernia,63  and  with  water, 
gangrenous  sores.  A  decoction  of  linseed-meal  with  fenu- 
greek, in  the  proportion  of  one  sextarius  of  each,  in  hydromel, 
i«  recommended  for  pains  in  the  stomach ;  and  employed  as 

59  See  B.  xix.  c.  1.     The  rich  mucilage  of  linseed  makes  it  extremely 
valuable,  in  a  medicinal  point  of  view,  for  poultices.     This  mucilage  is 
found  in  the  perisperm  more  particularly ;  the  kernel  containing  a  fixed 
oil,  which  is  extremely  valuable  for  numerous  purposes.     The  account 
given  by  Pliny  and  the  other  ancient  writers  of  the  medicinal  uses  of 
linseed,  is,  in  general,  correct. 

60  "  Inspersum,"  sprinkled  with  boiling  water ;  like  oatmeal  for  por- 
ridge, probably. 

61  It  would  be  of  no  use  whatever  for  such  a  purpose,  Fee  says. 
ce  "  Emendat."     By  bringing  them  off.  probably. 

62  It  would  be  of  no  utility  for  hernia,  Fee  says,  or  for  the  cure  of  gan- 
grenous sores. 

Chap.  94.]  MEUM.  295 

an  injection,  with  oil  or  honey,  it  is  beneficial  for  dangerous 
affections  of  the  chest  and  intestines. 

CHAP.  93. — ELITE  :    SIX  REMEDIES. 

Elite64  seems  to  be  a  plant  of  an  inert  nature,  without 
flavour  or  any  pungency  whatever ;  hence  it  is  that,  in 
Menander,  we  find  husbands  giving  this  name  to  their  wives, 
by  way  of65  reproach.  It  is%  prejudicial  to  the  stomach,  and 
disturbs  the  bowels  to  such  a  degree,  as  to  cause  cholera  in 
some.  It  is  stated,  however,  that,  taken  in  wine,  it  is  good 
for  the  stings  of  scorpions ;  and  that  it  is  sometimes  used  as  a 
liniment  for  corns  on  the  feet,  and,  with  oil,  for  affections  of 
the  spleen  and  pains  in  the  temples.  Hippocrates  is  of  opi- 
nion, that  if  taken  with  the  food,67  it  will  arrest  the  menstrual 



Meum68  is  never  cultivated  in  Italy  except  by  medical  men, 
and  by  very  few  of  those.  There  are  two  varieties  of  it,  the 
finer  kind  being  known  as  "  athamanticum,"  because,  accord- 
ing to  some,  it  was  first  discovered  by  Athamas ;  or  else  be- 
cause, as  others  think,  that  of  the  best  quality  is  found  upon 
Mount  Athamas.69  The  leaf  of  it  is  similar  to  that  of  dill,  and 
the  stem  is  sometimes  as  much  as  two  cubits  in  length  :  the 
roots,  which  run  obliquely,  are  numerous  and  mostly  black, 
though  sometimes  white :  it  is  not  of  so  red  a  hue  as  the  other 

The  root  of  this  plant,  pounded  or  boiled,  and  taken  in  water, 
is  diuretic,  and  is  marvellously  efficacious  for  dispelling  flatu- 
lency of  the  stomach.  It  is  good,  too,  for  gripings  of  the  bowels 
and  affections  of  the  bladder :  applied  with  honey  to  the 

64  The  Blitum  capitatum  of  Linnaeus. 

65  Hence,  too,  the  Latin  word  "  bliteus,"  meaning  "insipid,"  "sense- 
less," or  '•  worthless." 

6(i  This  is  not  the  case,  it  being  as  innocuous  as  it  is  insipid.  Applied 
topically,  the  leaves  are  emollient. 

67  There  is  no  foundation,  Fee  say^  for  this  opinion. 

68  The  -ZEthusa  meum  of  Linnoeus ;    our  Spignel,   or  Baldmoney,  the 
Athamanta  Matthioli  of  Wulf.     By  some  authorities  it  is  called  Feni- 
culum  Alpinum  perenne.     It  is  possessed  of  exciting  properties,  and  is  no 
longer  used  in  medicine.     ,  69  See  B.  iv.  c.  8. 


region  of  the  uterus,  it  acts  as  a  diuretic  ;  and  used  as  a  liniment 
with  parsley,  upon  the  lower  regions  of  the  abdomen  in  infants, 
it  has  a  similar  effect. 


Fen n el  has  been  rendered  famous  by  the  serpent,  which 
tastes  it,  as  already70  stated,  when  it  casts  its  old  skin,  and 
sharpens  its  sight  with  the  juice  of  this  plant :  a  fact  which  has 
led  to  the  conclusion  that  this  juice  must  be  beneficial,  also,  in  a 
high  degree  to  the  human  sight.  Fennel -juice  is  gathered  when 
the  stem  is  swelling  with  the  bud  ;  after  which  it  is  dried  in 
the  sun  and  applied  as  an  ointment  with  honey.  This  plant 
is  to  be  found  in  all  parts  of  the  world.  The  most  esteemed 
preparation  from  it,  is  that  made  in  Iberia,  from  the  tear-like 
drops  which  exude71  from  the  stalk  and  the  seed  fresh-ga- 
thered. The  juice  is  extracted,  also,  from  incisions  made  in 
the  root  at  the  first  germination  of  the  plant. 


There  is,  also,  a  wild72  variety  of  fennel,  known  by  some 
persons  as  "  hippomarathron,"  and  by  others  as  "  myrsineum;" 
it  has  a  larger  leaf  and  a  more  acrid  taste  than  the  other  kind. 
It  is  taller,  also,  about  the  thickness  of  a  walking-stick,  and 
has  a  white  root:  it  grows  in  warm,  but  stony  localities. 
Diocles  speaks,  too,  of  another73  variety  of  hippomarathron, 
with  a  long  narrow  leaf,  and  a  seed  like  that  of  coriander. 

The  seed  of  the  cultivated  fennel  is  medicinally  employed  in 
wine,  for  the  stings  of  scorpions  and  serpents,  and  the  juice  of 
it,  injected  into  the  ears,  has  the  effect  of  destroying  small 
worms  that  breed  there.  Fennel  is  employed  as  an  ingredient 
in  nearly  all  our  seasonings,74  vinegar75  sauces  more  particu- 
larly :  it  is  placed  also  beneath  the  undercrust  of  bread.  The 

'°  See  B.  viii.  c.  41.  This  plant  is  the  Anethum  feniculum  of  Lin- 
ngeus.  The  seed  and  roots  are  still  used  in  medicine,  being  sudorific, 
diuretic,  and  aperitive. 

71  This  resinous  juice  of  fennel  is  no  longer  employed,  or  indeed  known, 
Fee  says,  to  the  curious. 

72  "Horse  marathrum  :**  the  Cachrys  Libanotis  of  Linnseus,  probably. 

73  The  Seaeli  tortuosum  of  Linnaeus,  probably. 

74  It  is  sometimes  used  at  the  present  day  for  condiments,  as  a  substitute 
for  anise.   Pliny's  account  of  its  medicinal  virtues,  Fee  says,  is  replete  with 

75  u  Oxyporis :"  perhaps  "  salad-dressings." 

Chap.  97.]  HEMP.  297 

seed,  in  fevers  even,  acts  as  an  astringent  upon  a  relaxed  sto- 
mach, and  beaten  up  with  water,  it  allays  nausea  :  it  is  highly 
esteemed,  also,  for  affections  of  the  lungs  and  liver.  Taken 
in  moderate  quantities,  it  arrests  looseness  of  the  bowels,  and 
acts  as  a  diuretic  ;  a  decoction  of  it  is  good  for  gripings  of  the 
stomach,  and  taken  in  drink,  it  restores  the  milk.  The  root, 
taken  in  a  ptisan,76  purges  the  kidneys — an  eifect  which  is 
equally  produced  by  a  decoction  of  the  juice  or  of  the  seed  ;  the 
root  is  good  too,  boiled  in  wine,  for  dropsy  and  convulsions. 
The  leaves  are  applied  to  burning  tumours,  with  vinegar, 
expel  calculi  of  the  bladder,  and  act  as  an  aphrodisiac. 

In  whatever  way  it  is  taken  in  drink,  fennel  lias  the  pro- 
perty of  promoting  the  secretion  of  the  seminal  fluids ;  and  it 
is  extremely  beneficial  to  the  generative  organs,  whether  a  de- 
coction of  the  root  in  wine  is  employed  as  a  fomentation,  or 
whether  it  is  used  beaten  up  in  oil.  Many  persons  apply 
fennel  with  wax  to  tumours  and  bruises,  and  employ  the  root, 
with  the  juice  of  the  plant,  or  else  with  honey,  for  the  bites  of 
dogs,  and  with  wine  for  the  stings  of  multipedes. 

Hipponmrathron  is  more  efficacious,  in  every  respect,  than 
cultivated  fennel  ;77  it  expels  calculi  more  particularly,  and, 
taken  with  weak  wine,  is  good  for  the  bladder  and  irregula- 
rities of  the  menstrual  discharge. 

In  this  plant,  the  seed  is  more  efficacious  than  the  root ; 
the  dose  of  either  of  them  being  a  pinch  with  two  fingers, 
beaten  up,  and  mixed  with  the  usual  drink.  Petrichus,  who 
wrote  a  work  "  On  Serpents/'78  and  Micton,  who  wrote  a  trea- 
tise <k  On79  Botany,"  are  of  opinion  that  there  is  nothing  in 
existence  of  greater  efficacy  against  serpents  than  hippoma- 
rathron  :  indeed,  Nicander80  has  ranked  it  by  no  means  among 
the  lowest  of  antidotes. 


Hemp  originally  grew  in  the  forests,81  where  it  is  found 
with  a  blacker  and  rougher  leaf  than  in  the  other82  kinds. 

76  See  B.  xviii.  c.  13. 

77  Their  properties,  Fee  says,  are  very  similar. 

78  "Ophiaca."  79  " Khizotomumena." 

80  Theriaca,  1.  59(?.  et  seq. 

81  The  wild  hemp  of  Pliny  is  the  Althaea  eannabina  of  Linnaeus :  the 
hemp  marsh-mallow. 

w  The  cultivated  hemp  is  the  Caimabis  sativa  of  Linnaeus. 


Hempseed,83  it  is  said,  renders  men  impotent :  the  juice  of 
this  seed  will  extract  worms  from  the  ears,  or  any  insect 
which  may  have  entered  them,  though  at  the  cost  of  producing 
head-ache.  The  virtues  of  hemp,  it  is  said,  are  so  great,  that 
an  infusion  of  it  in  water  will  cause  it  to  coagulate  r84  hence  it 
is,  that  if  taken  in  water,  it  will  arrest  looseness  in  heasts  of 
burden.  A  decoction  of  the  root  in  water,  relaxes  contractions 
of  the  joints,  and  cures  gout  and  similar  maladies.  It  is  ap- 
plied raw  to  burns,  but  it  must  be  frequently  changed,  so  as 
not  to  let  it  dry. 


Fennel- giant85  has  a  seed  similar  to  that  of  dill.  That 
which  has  a  single  stem,  bifurcated86  at  the  top,  is  generally 
thought  to  be  the  female  plant.  The  stalks  of  it  are  eaten 
boiled  ;87  and,  pickled  in  brine  and  honey,  they  are  recom- 
mended as  particularly  beneficial  to  the  stomach  ;88  if  taken, 
however,  in  too  large  quantities,  they  are  apt  to  produce 
head- ache.  The  root  of  it  in  doses  of  one  denarius  to  two 
cyathi  of  wine,  is  used  in  drink  for  the  stings  of  serpents,  and  ; 
the  root  itself  is  applied  topically  for  the  same  purpose,  as 
also  for  the  cure  of  gripings  of  the  stomach.  Taken  in  oil 
and  vinegar,  it  is  used  as  a  check  for  excessive  perspirations, 
in  fevers  even.  The  inspissated  juice  of  fennel- giant,  taken 
in  quantities  the  size  of  a  bean,  acts  as  a  purgative  ;89  and  the 
pith 90  of  it  is  good  for  the  uterus,  as  well  as  all  the  maladies 
previously  mentioned.  To  arrest  haemorrhage,  ten  of  the 
seeds  are  taken  in  drink,  bruised  in  wine,  or  else  with  the 

83  He  is  speaking  of  the  hemp  marsh-mallow  here,  and  not  the  real 
hemp  ;  though  at  the  same  time  he  mingles  with  his  statement  several 
facts  which  are  stated  hy  Dioscorides  with  reference  to  the  genuine  hemp. 
See  B.  xix.  c.  56. 

84  This  is  evidently  stated  in  reference  to  the  hemp-mallow. 

85  For  an  account 'of  the  Ferula,  see  B.  xiii.  c.  42. 

86  An  accidental  circumstance,  Fee  says,  and  no  distinctive  mark  of  sex 
or  species. 

87  Fee  thinks  that  Pliny's  meaning  is,  that  it  is  eaten  as  a  confection, 
similar  to  those  of  angelica  and  parsley  stalks  at  the  present  day.     That, 
however,  would  hardly  appear  to  be  the  sense  of  the  passage.     In  B.  xix. 
c.  56,  he  speaks  of  it  being  dried  and  used  as  a  seasoning. 

88  Fennel-giant  is  considered  to  be  a  good  stomachic. 

89  This,  Fee  thinks,  is  probably  the  fact. 

90  The  pith,  in  reality,  of  the  Umbelliferae,  is  insipid  and  inert. 

Cliap.  100.]          THE    COMPOSITION   OF   THEEIACA.  299 

pith  of  the  plant.  There  are  some  persons  who  think  that 
the  seed  should  be  administered  for  epilepsy,  from  the  fourth 
to  the  seventh  day  of  the  moon,  in  doses  of  one  spoonful. 

Fennel-giant  is  naturally  so  inimical  to  the  murama,  that 
the  very  touch  of  it  even  will  kill  that  fish.  Castor  was  of 
opinion*  that  the  juice  of  the  root  is  extremely  beneficial  to 
the  sight. 


"We  have  already91  spoken,  when  treating  of  the  garden 
plants,  of  the  cultivation  of  the  thistle ;  we  may  as  well, 
therefore,  not  delay  to  mention  its  medicinal  properties.  Of 
wild  thistles  there  are  two  varieties  ;  one93  of  which  throws 
out  numerous  stalks  immediately  it  leaves  the  ground,  the 
other93  being  thicker,  and  having  but  a  single  stem.  They 
have,  both  of  them,  a  few  leaves  only,  and  covered  with 
prickles,  the  head  of  the  plant  being  protected  by  thorny 
points  :  the  last  mentioned,  however,  puts  forth  in  the  middle 
of  these  points  a  purple  blossom,  which  turns  white  with 
great  rapidity,  and  is  carried  off  by  the  wind ;  the  Greeks 
give  it  the  name  of  "  scolymos." 

This  plant,  gathered  before  it  blossoms,  and  beaten  up  and 
subjected  to  pressure,  produces  a  juice,  which,  applied  to  the 
head,  makes  the  hair  grow  again  when  it  has  fallen  off  through 
alopecy.  The  root  of  either  kind,  boiled  in  water,  creates 
thirst,  it  is  said,  in  those  who  drink  it.  It  strengthens  the 
stomach  also,  and  if  we  are  to  believe  what  is  said,  has  some 
influence  upon  the  womb  in  promoting  the  conception  of  male 
offspring :  at  all  events,  Glaucias,  who  seems  to  paid 
the  most  attention  to  the  subject,  has  written  to  that  effect. 
The  thin  juice,  like  mastich,  which  exudes  from  these  plants, 
imparts  sweetness  to  the  breath. 

CHAP.    100.    (24.) THE  COMPOSITION  OF  THETilACA. 

But  as  we  are  now  about  to  leave  the  garden  plants,  we  will 
take  this  opportunity  of  describing  a  very  famous  preparation 

si  Infi.xix.  c.  43. 

92  This,  Fee  considers  to  be  the  Cinara  carduncellus  of  Linnaeus,  arti- 
choke thistle,  or  Cardonette  of  Provence. 

93  The  Cinara  scolymus  of  Linnajus  probably,  our  artichoke,  which  the 
ancients  do  not  appear  to  have  eaten.      Both  the  thistle  and  the  artichoke 
are  now  no  longer  employed  in  medicine. 


extracted  from  them  as  an  antidote  against  the  stings  of  all 
kinds  of  venomous  animals:  it  is  inscribed  in  verse94  upon  a 
stone  in  the  Temple  of  JEsculapius  at  Cos. 

Take  two  denarii  of  wild  thyme,  and  the  same  quantity  of 
opopanax  and  meum  respectively  ;  one  denarius  of  trefoil 
seed  ;  and  of  aniseed,  fennel-seed,  ammi,  and  parsley,  six 
denarii  respectively,  with  twelve  denarii  of  meal  of  fitches. 
Beat  up  these  ingredients  together,  and  pass  them  through  a 
sieve  ;  after  which  they  must  be  kneaded  with  the  best  wine 
that  can  be  had,  and  then  made  into  lozenges  of  one  victoria- 
tus95  each  :  one  of  these  is  to  be  given  to  the  patient,  steeped 
in  three  cyathi  of  wine.  King  Aritiochus96  the  Great,  it  is 
said,  employed  this  theriaca  9T  against  all  kinds  of  venomous 
animals,  the  asp  excepted. 

SUMMARY.  —  Remarkable  facts,  narratives,  and  observations,  ^ 
one  thousand,  five  hundred,  and  six. 

AUTHORS  QUOTED.  —  Cato1    the   Censor,    M.  Yarro,3 
Pompeius  Lenceuft,8  C.  Yalgius,4   Hyginus,5   Sextius   Niger61 

94  Galen  gives  these  lines,  sixteen  in  number,  in  his  work  De  Antidot. 
B.  ii.  c.  14;  the  proportions,  however,  differ  from  those  given  by  Pliny. 

95  Half  a  denarius  ;  the  weight  being  so  called  from  the  coin  which  was 
stamped  with  the  image  of  the  Goddess  of  Victory.     See  B.  xxxiii.  c.  13. 

96  Antiochus  II.,  the  father  of  Antiochus  Epiphanes. 

97  Or  "  antidote."     In  this  term  has  originated  our  word  "  treacle,"  in 
the  Elizabethan  age  spelt  "  triacle."     The  medicinal  virtues  of  this  com- 
position were  believed  in,  Fee  remarks,   so  recently  as   the  latter  half  of 
the  last  century.     The  most  celebrated,  however,  of  all  the   u  tlieriacse" 
of  the  ancients,  was  the  "  Theriaca  Andromuchi,"  invented  by  Androma- 
chus,  the  physician  of  the  Emperor  Nero,  and  very  similar  to  that  com- 
posed by  Mithridates,  king  of  Pontus,  and  by  means  of  which  he  was  ren- 
dered proof,  it  is  said,  against  all  poisons.     See  a  very  learned  and  inter- 
esting account  of  the  Theriaca  of  the  ancients,  by  Dr.  Greenhili,  in  Smith's 
Dictionary  of  Greek  and  Roman  Antiquities.     His  articles  "  Phannaceu- 
tica,"  and  "  Therapeutica,"  will  also  be  found  well  worth  attention  by  the 
reader  of  Pliny. 

1  See  end  of  B.  iiL  2  See  end  of  B.  ii. 

3  See  end  of  B.  xiv. 

4  He  is  also  mentioned  in  B.  xxv.  c.  2,  as  having  commenced  a  treatise 
on  Medicinal  Plants,  which  he  did  not  live  to  complete.     It  is  not  im- 
probable that  he  is  the  same  Valgius  that  is  mentioned  in  high  terras  by 
Horace,  B,  i.  Sat,  10. 

6  See  end  of  B.  iii.  '6  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

SUMMAIir.  301 

who  wrote  in   Greek,  Julius   Bassus7  who  wrote  in  Greek, 
Celsus,8  Antonius  Castor.9 

FOREIGN  AUTHORS  QUOTKD. — Democritus,10  Theophrastus,11 
Orpheus,12  MenanHer  13  who  wrote  the  "  Biochresta,"  Pytha- 
goras,14 Meander.15 

MKDICAL  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — Chrysippus,16  Diocles,17  Ophe- 
lion,18  Heraclides,19  Hicesius,20  Dionysius,21  Apollodoms  22  of 
Citiura,  Apollodorus 23  of  Tarentum,  Praxagoras,24  Plistoni- 

7  Supposed  by  some  to  be  the  same  with  the  Bassus  Tullius  mentioned 
by  ancient  writers  as  the  friend  of  Niger,  possibly  the  Sextius  Niger  here 
mentioned.  8  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

9  He  lived  at  Rome  in  the  first  century  of  the  Christian  era,  and  pos- 
sessed a  botanical  garden,  probably  the  earliest  mentioned.  He  lived 
more  than  a  hundred  years,  in  perfect  Health  both  of  body  and  mind.  See 
B.  xxv.  c.  5.  10  SeeendofB.ii. 

11  See  end  of  B.  iii. 

12  A  mystic  personage  of  the  early  Grecian  Mythology,   under  whose 
name  many  spurious  works  were  circulated.     Pliny  says,  J3.  xxv.  c.  2,  that 
he  was  the  first  who  wrote  with  any  degree  of  attention   on  the  subject  of 
Plants.  13  See  end  of  B.  xix. 

14  See  end  of  B.  ii.  15  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

16  1'robably  Chrysippus  of  Cnidos,  a  pupil  of  Eudoxus  and  Philistion, 
father  of  Chrysippus,  the  physician  to  Ptolemy  Soter,  and  tutor  to  Erasis- 
tratus.     Others,  again,  think  that  the  work  "  on  the  Cabbage,"  mentioned 
by  Pliny  in  c.  33,  was  written  by  another  Chrysippus,  a  pupil  of  Erasis- 
tratus,  in  the  third  century  B.C. 

17  A  native  of  Carystus,  in  Euboea,  who  lived  in  the  fourth  century  B.C. 
He  belonged  to  the  medical  sect  of  the  Dogmatici,  and  wrote  several  medi- 
cal works,  of  which  the  titles  only  and  a  few  fragments  remain. 

18  Of  this  writer  nothing  whatever  is  known. 

19  For  Heraclides  of  Heraclea,  see  end  of  B.  xii. ;  for  Heraclides  of. 
Pontus,  see  end  of  B.  iv. ;  and  for  Heraclides  of  Tarentum,  see  end  of  B. 
xii.     They  were  all  physicians. 

20  See  end  of  B.  xv.  21  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

22  It  was  probably  this  personage,  or  the  one  next  mentioned,  who  wrote 
to  Ptolemy,  one  of  the  kings  of  Egypt,  giving  him  directions  as  to  what 
wines  he  should  drink.     See  B.  xiv.  c.  9.     A  person  of  this  name  wrote  a 
work  on  Ointments  and  Chaplets,  ciu<  ted  by  Athenseus,  and  another  on 
Venomous  Animals,  quoted  by  the  same  author.     This  last  is  probably  the 
work  referred  to  by  Pliny,  B.  xxi.  cc.  15,  29,  &c.     It  has  been  suggested 
also,  that  the  proper  reading  here  is  "  Apollonius"  of  Citium,  a  pupil  of 
Zopyrus,  a  physician  of  Alexandria. 

23  See  the  preceding  Note. 

24  A  celebrated  physician,  a  native  of  the  island  of  Cos.     He  belonged 
to  the  medical  sect  of  the  Dogmatici,  and  flourished  probably  in  the  fourth 
century  B.C.     He  was  more  particularly  celebrated  for  his  comparatively 
accurate  knowledge  of  anatomy.     The  titles  only  and  a  few  fragments  of 
his  works  survive. 


cus,25  Mcdius,26  Dieuches,27  Cleophamtus,28  Philistion,29  Ascle- 
piades,30  Crateuas,31  Petronius  Diodotus,32  lollas,33  Erasistra- 
tus,34  Diagoras,35  Andreas,36  Mriesides,37  Epicharams,33  Da- 
inion,  39  Dalion,  40  Sosimenes,  41  Tlepolemus,  42  Metrodo- 

25  A  pupil  of  Praxagoras.      He  appears  to  have  written  a  work  on 
Anatomy,  quoted  more  than  once  by  Galen. 

26  A  pupil  of  Chrysippus  of  Cnidos,  and  who  lived  probably  in  the 
fourth  and  third  centuries  B.C.     Galen  speaks  of  him  as  being  held  in 
great  repute  among  the  Greeks. 

27  He  flourished  in  the  fourth  century  B.C.,  and  belonged  to  the  medi- 
cal sect  of  the  Dogmatici.     He  wrote  some  medical  works,  of  which  no- 
thing but  a  few  fragments  remain, 

2t>  He  lived  probably  about  the  beginning  of  the  third  century  B.C.,  as 
lie  was  the  tutor  of  Antigenes  and  Mnemou.  He  seems  to  have  been 
famous  for  his  medicinal  prescriptions  of  wine,  and  the  quantities  of  cold 
water  which  he  gave  to  his  patients. 

29  Born  either  in  Sicily  or  at  Locri  Epizephyrii,  in  Italy.  He  is  sup- 
posed to  have  lived  in  the  fourth  century  B.C.  By  some  persons  he  was 
thought  to  have  been  one  of  the  founders  of  the  sect  of  the  Empirici.  He 
wrote  works  on  Materia  Medica  and  Cookery,  and  is  several  times  quoted 
by  Pliny  and  Galen.  3°  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

31  A  Greek  herbalist,  who  lived  about  the  beginning  of  the  first  cen- 
tury B.C.  He  is  mentioned  by  Galen  as  one  of  the  most  eminent  writers 
on  Materia  Medica.  Another  physician,  of  the  same  name  is  supposed  to 
have  lived  in  the  time  of  Hippocrates. 

33  A  Greek  physician,  supposed  to  have  lived  in  or  before  the  first  cen- 
tury B.C.  Dioscorides  and  Saint  Epiphanius  speak  of  Petronius  and  Dio- 
dotus,  making  them  different  persons ;  and  it  is  not  improbable  that  the 
true  reading  in  c.  32  of  this  Book,  is  "  Petronius  et  Diodotus." 

33  See  end  of  B.  xii.  34  See  end  of  B.  xi. 

35  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

86  It  is  probable  that  there  were  several  Greek  physicians  of  this  name ; 

phobia.     Eratosthenes  is  said  to  have  accused  him  of  plagiarism. 

37  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

38  It  is  doubtful  if  the  person  of  this  name  to  whom  Pliny  attributes  a 
work  on  the  Cabbage,  in  cc.  34  and  36  of  this  Book,  was  the  same  indi- 
vidual as  Epicharmus  of  Cos,  the  Comic  poet,  born  B.C.  540.     It  has  been 
suggested  that  the  botanical  writer  was  a  different  personage,  the  brother 
of  r,he  Comic  poet  Demologus. 

39  Possibly  the  same  person  as  the  Damon  mentioned  at  the  end  of  B. 
vii.     He  is  mentioned  in  c.  40  of  this  Book,  and  in  B.  xxiv.  c.  120,  and 
wrote  a  work  on  the  Onion. 

40  See  end  of  B.  vi. 

41  Beyond  the  mention  made  of  him  in  c.  73  of  this  Book,  nothing  what- 
ever is  known  relative  to  this  writer. 

*2  Beyond  the  mention  made  of  him  in  c.  73,  nothing  is  known  of  him. 
Some  read  "  Theopolemus." 

SUMMARY.  303 

ins,43  Solo,44  Lycus,45    Olympias46  of   Thebes,  PLilinus,47  Pe- 
trichus,48  Micton,49  Glaucias,60  Xenocrates.51 

43  Probably  Metrodorus  of  Chios,  a  philosopher,  who  flourished  about 
B.  c.  330,  and  professed  the  doctrine  of  the  Sceptics.     Cicero,  Acad.  ii.  23, 
§  73,  gives  a  translation  of  the  first  sentence  of  his  work  *•  On  Nature." 

44  A  physician  of  Smyrna.     He  is  called  Solon  the  Dietetic,  by  Galen  ; 
but  nothing  further  seems  to  be  known  of  his  history. 

45  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

46  A  Theban  authoress,  who  wrote  on  Medicine  ;  mentioned  also  by 
Plinius  Valerianus,  the  physician,  and  Pollux. 

47  A  Greek  physician,  a  native  of  Cos,  the  reputed  founder  of  the  sect 
of  the  Empirici.     He  probably  lived  in  the  third  century  B.C.     From 
Athenceus  we  learn  that  he  wrote  a  work  on  Botany.     A  parallel  has  been 
drawn  between  Philinus  and  the  late  Dr.  Hahnemann,  by  F.  F.  Briskou, 
Berlin,  1834. 

*s  See  end  of  B.  xix. 

45  The  Scholiast  on  Nicander  mentions  a  treatise  on  Botany  written  by 
a  person  of  this  name :  and  a  work  of  his  on  Medicine  is  mentioned  by 
Labbe  as  existing  in  manuscript  in  the  Library  at  Florence. 

50  A  Greek  physician  of  this  name  belonging  to  the  sect  of  the  Empirici, 
lived  probably  in  the  third  or  second  century  B.C.     Galen  mentions  him 
as  one  of  the  earliest  commentators  on  the  works  of  Hippocrates.     It  is 
uncertain,  however,  whether  he  is  the  person  so  often  quoted  by  Pliny. 

51  A  physician  of  Aphrodisias,  in  Cilicia,  who  lived  in  the  reign  of 
Tiberius.     He  wrote  some  pharmaceutical  works,  and  is  censured  by  Galen 
for  his  disgusting  remedies,  such  as  human  brains,  flesh,  urine,  liver,  ex- 
crements, &c.     There  is  a  short  essay  by  him  still  ill  existence,  on  tha 
Aliments  derived  from  the  Aquatic  Animals. 





Cato  has  recommended  that  flowers  for  making  chaplets 
should  also  be  cultivated  in  the  garden  ;  varieties  remarkable 
for  a  delicacy  which  it  is  quite  impossible  to  express,  inas- 
much as  no  individual  can  find  such  facilities  for  describing 
them  as  Nature  does  for  bestowing  on  them  their  numerous  tints 
— Nature,  who  here  in  especial  shows  herself  in  a  sportive 
mood,  and  takes  a  delight  in  the  prolific  display  of  her  varied 
productions.  The  other l  plants  she  has  produced  for  our  use 
and  our  nutriment,  and  to  them  accordingly  she  has  granted 
years  and  even  ages  of  duration  :  but  as  for  the  flowers  and , 
their  perfumes,  she  has  given  them  birth  for  but  a  day — a 
mighty  lesson  to  man,  we  see,  to  teach  him  that  that  which  in 
its  career  is  the  most  beauteous  and  the  most  attractive  to  the 
eye,  is  the  very  first  to  fade  and  die. 

Even  the  limner's  art  itself  possesses  no  resources  for  re- 
producing the  colours  of  the  flowers  in  all  their  varied  tints 
and  combinations,  whether  we  view  them  in  groups  alter- 
nately blending  their  hues,  or  whether  arranged  in  festoons,  each 
variety  by 2  itself,  now  assuming  a  circular  form,  now  running 
obliquely,  and  now  disposed  in  a  spiral  pattern  ;  or  whether, 
as  we  see  sometimes,  one  wreath  is  interwoven  within  another. 


The  ancients  used  chaplets  of  diminutive  size,  called 
"  struppi  ;"3  from  which  comes  our  name  for  a  chaplet,  "  stro- 

1  See  B.  xxii.  c.  1. 

2  "  Sive  privatis  generum  funiculis  in  orbem,  in  obliqimm,  in  ambitum  ; 
quaedam  coronae  per  coronas  currunt."    As  we  know  but  little  of  the  forms 
of  the  garlands  and  chaplets  of  the  ancients,  the  exact  translation  of  this 
passage  is  very  doubtful. 

3  According  to  Boettiger,  tbe  word  "  struppus  "  means  a  string  arranged 
as  a  fillet  or  diadem. 

Chap.  3.]  THE   AST   OF   MAKING    GAULANDS.  305 

phiolum."  Indeed,  it  was  only  by  very  slow  degrees  that 
this  last  word4  became  generalized,  as  the  chaplets  that  were 
used  at  sacrifices,  or  were  granted  as  the  reward  of  military 
valour,  asserted  their  exclusive  right  to  the  name  of  "  corona." 
As  for  garlands,  when  they  came  to  be  made  of  flowers,  they 
received  the  name  of  "  serta,"  from  the  verb  "  sero,"5  or 
else  from  our  word  "  series."6  The  use7  of  flowers  for  gar- 
lands is  not  so  very  ancient,  among  the  Greeks  even. 

CHAP.     3. WHO    INVENTED    THE     AKT     OF     MAKING    GARLANDS  I 


For  in  early  times  it  was  the  usage  to  crown  the  victors  in 
the  sacred  contests  with  branches  of  trees :  and  it  was  only 
at  a  later  period,  tnat  they  began  to  vary  their  tints  by  the 
combination8  of  flowers,  to  heighten  the  effect  in  turn  by  their 
colour  and  their  smell — an  invention  due  to  the  ingenuity  of 
the  painter  Pausias,  at  Sicyon,9  and  the  garland-maker  Gly- 
cera,  a  female  to  whom  he  was  greatly  attached,  and  whose 
handiwork  was  imitated  by  him  in  colours.  Challenging  him 
to  a  trial  of  skill,  she  would  repeatedly  vary  her  designs,  and 
thus  it;  was  in  reality  a  contest  between  art  and  Nature  ;•  a  fact 
which  Ave  find  attested  by  pictures  of  that  artist  even  still  in 
existence,  more  particularly  the  one  known  as  the  "  Stephane- 
plocos,"10  in  which  he  has  given  a  likeness  of  Glycera  herself. 
This  invention,  therefore,  is  only  to  be  traced  to  later  than  the 
Hundredth11  Olympiad. 

Chaplets  of  flowers  being  now  the  fashion,  it  was  not  long 
before  those  came  into  vogue  which  are  known  to  us  as 

4  Fee  makes  the  word  "vocabulum"  apply  to  "corona,"  and  not  to 
"  struppus  ;"  but  the  passage  will  hardly  admit  of  that  rendering. 

5  "To  bind"  or  "join  together." 

6  A  "  connected  line,"  from  the  verb  "  sero." 

7  By  "quod,"  Hardouin  takes  Pliny  to  mean,  the  use  of  the  word 
OTrapTov,  among  the  Greeks,  corresponding  with  the  Latin  word  "  sertum." 

8  These  chaplets,   we   learn   from  Festus,  were   called   "panearpiae." 
The  olive,  oak,  laurel,  and  myrtle,  were  the  trees  first  used  fox  chaplets. 

9  See  B.  xxxy.  c.  40. 

10  The  *'  Chaplet- weaver."    See  B.  xxxv.  e.  40. 

11  B.C.  380. 

TOL.    IV.  X 


Egyptian12  chaplets ;  and  then  the  winter  chaplets,  made  for 
the  time  at  which  Earth  refuses  her  flowers,  of  thin  laminae  of 
horn  stained  various  colours.  By  slow  degrees,  too,  the  name 
was  introduced  at  Rome,  these  garlands  being  known  there 
at  first  as  "  corollse,"  a  designation  given  them  to  express 
the  remarkable  delicacy 13  of  their  texture.  In  more  recent 
times,  again,  when  the  chaplets  presented  were  made  of  thin 
plates  u  of  copper,  gilt  or  silvered,  they  assumed  the  name 
of  "  corollaria." 


Crassus  Dives  15  was  the  first  who  gave  chaplets  with  arti- 
ficial leaves  of  silver  and  gold,  at  the  games  celebrated  by  him. 
To  embellish  these  chaplets,  and  to  confer  additional  honour 
on  them,  lemnisci  were  added,  in  imitation  of  the  Etruscan 
chaplets,  which  ought  properly  to  have  none  but  lemnisci 16 
made  of  gold.  For  a  long  period  these  lemnisci  were  desti- 
tute of  ornament  :17  P.  Claudius  Pulcher18  was  the  first  who 
taught  us  to  emboss19  them,  and  added  leaves  of  tinsel  to  the 
lamina20  of  which  the  lemniscus  was  formed. 


Chaplets,  however,  were  always  held  in  a  high  degree  of 
estimation,  those  even  which  were  acquired  at  the  public 
games.  For  it  was  the  usage  of  the  citizens  to  go  down  in 
person  to  take  part  in  the  contests  of  the  Circus,  and  to 
send  their  slaves  and  horses  thither  as  well.  Hence  it  is  that 
we  find  it  thus  written  in  the  laws  of  the  Twelve  Tables  : 

12  From  Athenseus,  B.  xv.  c.  2,  et  seq.,  we  learn  that  the  Egyptian 
chaplets  were  made  of  ivy,  narcissus,  pomegranate  blossoms,  &c. 

*3  "  Corolla,"  being  the  diminutive  of  "corona." 

w  Or  tinsel.  15  The  "  Rich." 

16  Ribbons  or  streamers.  17  "Puri." 

is  Consul,  A/U.C.  570. 

!9  Or  "engrave,"  "cffilare."  He  is  probably  speaking  here  of  golden 

20  «  Philyrge."  This  was  properly  the  inner  bark  of  the  linden-tree  ; 
but  it  is  not  improbable  that  thin  plates  of  metal  were  also  so  called,  from 
the  resemblance.  The  passage,  however,  admits  of  various  modes  of  ex- 

Chap.  G.]  CHAPLETS.  307 

"  If  any  person  has  gained  a  chaplet  himself,  or  by  his 
money,21  let  the  same  be  given  to  him  as  the  reward  of  his 
prowess."  There  is  no  doubt  that  by  the  words  "  gained  by 
his  money,"  the  laws  meant  a  chaplet  which  had  been  gained 
by  his  slaves  or  horses.  Well  then,  what  was  the  honour  ac- 
quired thereby  ?  It  was  the  right  secured  by  the  victor,  for 
himself  and  for  his  parents,  after  death,  to  be  crowned  with- 
out fail,  while  the  body  was  laid  out  in  the  house,22  and  on  its 
being  carried23  to  the  tomb. 

On  other  occasions,  chaplets  were  not  indiscriminately 
worn,  not  even  those  which  had  been  won  in  the  games. 



Indeed  the  rules  upon  this  point  were  remarkably  severe. 
L.  Fulvius,  a  banker,24  having  been  accused,  at  the  time  of 
the  Second  Punic  "War,  of  looking  down  from  the  balcony26 
of  his  house  upon  the  Eorum,  with  a  chaplet  of  roses  upon 
his  head,  was  imprisoned  by  order  of  the  Senate,  and  was  not 
liberated  before  the  war  was  brought  to  a  close.  P.  Muna- 
tius,  having  placed  upon  his  head  a  chaplet  of  flowers  taken 
from  the  statue  of  Marsyas,26  was  condemned  by  the  Trium- 
viri to  be  put  in  chains.  Upon  his  making  appeal  to  the 
tribunes  of  the  people,  they  refused  to  intercede  in  his  behalf 
— a  very  different  state  of  things  to  that  at  Athens,  where 
the  young  men,27  in  their  drunken  revelry,  were  in  the  habit, 

21  "  Pecimia."    Fee  compares  this  usage  with  the  employment  of  jockies 
at  horse-races  in  England  and  France. 

22  "  Intus  positus  esset."  23  "  Foris  ferretur." 

24  Or  ^money-changer,"  " argentarius." 

25  "Epergula  sua."     Scaliger  thinks  that  the  "pergula"  was  a  part 
of  a  house  built  out  into  the  street,  while,  according  to  Ernesti,  it  was  a 
little  room  in  the  upper  part  of  a  house.    In  B.  xxxv.  c.  36,  it  clearly 
means  a  room  on  the  ground-floor. 

26  In  the  Fora  of  ancient  cities  there  was  frequently  a  statue  of  this  my- 
thological personage,  with  one  hand  erect,  in  token,   Servius  says  (on 
B.  iv.  1.  58  of  the  jEneid),  of  the  freedom  of  the  state,  Marsyas  having  been 
the  minister  of  Bacchus,  the  god  of  liberty.     His  statue  in  the  Forum  of 
Rome  was  the  place  of  assembly  for  the  courtesans  of  that  city,  who  used 
to  crown  it  with  chaplets  of  Sowers.     See  also  Horace  i.  Sat.  6.  1.  120 ; 
Juvenal,  Sat.  9.  1.  1  and  2;  and  Martial, ii.  Ep.  64. 1.  7. 

27  Cujacius  thinks  that  Pliny  has  in  view  here  Polemcn  of  Athens,  who 
when  a  young  man,  in  his  drunken  revelry,  burst  into  the  school  of  Xeno- 
crates.  the  philosopher,  with  his  fellow-revellers,  wearing  his  festive  gar- 

x  2 


before  midday,  of  making  their  way  into  the  very  schools  of 
the  philosophers  even.  Among  ourselves,  no  such  instance  of 
a  similar  licentiousness  is  to  be  found,  unless,  indeed,  in  the 
case  of  the  daughter28  of  the  late  Emperor  Augustus,  who,  in 
her  nocturnal  debaucheries,  placed  a  chaplet  on  the  statue29 
of  Marsyas,  conduct  deeply  deplored  in  the  letters  of  that 


Scipio  is  the  only  person  that  ever  received  from  the  Eoman 
people  the  honour  of  being  decked  with  flowers.  This 
Scipio  received  the  surname  of  Serapio,31  from  his  remarkable 
resemblance  to  a  certain  person  of  that  name  who  dealt  in 
pigs.  He  died  in  his  tribuneship,  greatly  beloved  by  tho 
people,  and  in  every  way  worthy  of  the  family  of  the  Africani. 
The  property  he  left  was  not  sufficient  to  pay  the  expenses  of 
his  burial ;  upon  which  the  people  made  a  subscription  and 
contracted32  for  his  funeral,  flowers  being  scattered  upon  the 
body  from  every  possible  quarter33  as  it  was  borne  along. 

CHAP.    8.  —  PLAITED       CHAPLETS.          NEEDLE- WORK      CHAPLETS. 

In  those  days,  too,  chaplets  were  employed  in  honour  of  the 
gods,  the  Lares,  public  as  well  as  domestic,  the  sepulchres,54 
and  the  Manes.  The  highest  place,  however,  in  public  esti- 
mation, was  held  by  the  plaited  chaplet ;  such  as  we  find  used 

land  on  his  head.  Being  arrested,  however,  by  the  discourse,  he  stopped 
to  listen,  and  at  length,  tearing  off  the  garland,  determined  to  enter  on  a 
more  abstemious  course  of  life.  Becoming  an  ardent  disciple  of  Xeno- 
crates,  he  ultimately  succeeded  him  at  the  head  of  the  school.  The  pas- 
sage as  given  in  the  text,  from  its  apparent  incompleteness,  would  appear 
to  be  in  a  mutilated  state. 
23  Julia.  See  B.  vii.  c.  46. 

29  Thus  acknowledging  herself  to  he  no  better  than  a  common  courtesan. 

30  "  Illius  dei."  31  See  B.  vii.  c.  10. 

32  «  Funus  elocavit." 

33  «  E  prospectu  omni."     "  From  every  look-out :"     i.e.  from  the  roofs, 
doors,  and  windows. 

34  This  usage  is  still  observed  in  the  immortelles,  laid  on  the  tombs  of 
departed  friends,  in  Catholic  countries  on  the  continent.    Tibullus  alludes 
to  it,  B.iLEL  4: 

'*  Atque  aliquis  senior  veteres  veneratus  amores, 
Annua  construe  to  serta  dabit  tumulo." 

Chap.  9.]  CHAPLETS.  309 

by  the  Salii  in  their  sacred  rites,  and  at  the  solemnization  of 
their  yearly35  banquets.  In  later  times,  the  rose  chaplet  has 
been  adopted,  and  luxury  arose  at  last  to  such  a  pitch  that  a 
chaplet  was  held  in  no  esteem  at  all  if  it  did  not  consist  en- 
tirely of  leaves  sown  together  with  the  needle.  More  recently, 
again,  they  have  been  imported  from  India,  or  from  nations 
beyond  the  countries  of  India. 

But  it  is  looked  upon  as  the  most  refined  of  all,  to  present 
chaplets  made  of  nard  leaves,  or  else  of  silk  of  many  colours 
steeped  in  unguents.  Such  is  the  pitch  to  which  the  luxu- 
riousness  of  our  women  has  at  last  arrived ! 

CHAP.    9. AUTHORS    WHO    HATE    WBITTEN    Off    FLOWKRS.        AX 


Among  the  Greeks,  the  physicians  Mnesitheus  and  Calli- 
raachus  have  written  separate  treatises  on  the  subject  of 
chaplets,  making  mention  of  such  flowers  as  are  injurious  to 
the  head.36  For,  in  fact,  the  health  is  here  concerned  to  some 
extent,  as  it  is  at  the  moments  of  carousal  and  gaiety  in  par- 
ticular that  penetrating  odours  steal  insidiously  upon  the 
brain — witness  an  instance  in  the  wicked  cunning  displayed 
upon  one  occasion  by  Cleopatra. 

At  the  time  when  preparations  were  making  for  the  battle 
that  was  eventually  fought  at  Actium,  Antonius  held  the 
queen  in  such  extreme  distrust  as  to  be  in  dread  of  JMX  very 
attentions  even,  and  would  not  so  much  as  touch  ms^  food, 
unless  another  person  had  tasted  it  first.  Upon  this,  the 
queen,  it  is  said,  wishing  to  amuse  herself  with  his  fears,  had 
;he  extremities  of  the  flowers  in  a  chaplet  dipped  in  poison,  and 
then  placed  it  upon  her  head.37  After  a  time,  as  the  hilarity 
'.ncreased  apace,  she  challenged  Antonius  to  swallow  the  chap- 

35  At  the  conclusion  of  the  festival  of  Mars  on  the  1st  of  March,  and 
or  several  successive  days.     These  entertainments  were  celebrated  in  the 
Temple  of  that  god,  and  were  proverbial  for  their  excellence. 

36  It  is  a  well-known  fact,  as  Fee  remarks,  that  the  smell  of  flowers  is 
)roductive,  in  some  persons,  of  head-ache,  nausea,  and  vertigo.     He  states 
ilso  that  persons  have  been  known  to  meet  their  death  from  sleeping  all 
tiight  in  the  midst  of  odoriferous  flowers. 

37  "Ipsaque  capiti  imposita."     Holland   and  Ajasson  render  this  as 
.hough  Cleopatra  placed  the  garland  on  Antony's  head,  and  not  her  own. 
'ittre  agrees  with  the  translation  here  adopted. 


lets,  mixed  up  with  their  drink.  Who,  under  such  circumstances 
as  these,  could  have  apprehended  treachery?  Accordingly, 
the  leaves  were  stripped  from  off  the  chaplet,  and  thrown  into 
the  cup.  Just  as  Antonius  was  on  the  very  point  of  drinking, 
she  arrested  his  arm  with  her  hand. — "  Behold,  Marcus  An- 
tonius," said  she,  "  the  woman  against  whom  you  are  so  care- 
ful to  take  these  new  precautions  of  yours  in  employing  your 
tasters !  And  would  then,  if  I  could  exist  without  you,  either 
means  or  opportunity  of  effecting  my  purpose  be  wanting  to 
me?"  Saying  this,  she  ordered  a  man  to  be  brought  from 
prison,  and  made  him  drink  off  the  potion ;  he  did  so,  and 
fell  dead38  upon  the  spot. 

Besides  the  two  authors  above-mentioned,  Theophrastus,39 
among  the  Greeks,  has  written  on  the  subject  of  flowers. 
Some  of  our  own  writers  also  have  given  the  title  of  "  Antho- 
logica"  to  their  works,  but  no  one,  to  my  knowledge  at  least, 
has  treated  expressly40  of  flowers.  In  fact,  we  ourselves  have 
no  intention  here  of  discussing  the  mode  of  wearing  chaplets, 
for  that  would  be  frivolous41  indeed  ;  but  shall  proceed  to 
state  such  particulars  in  relation  to  flowers  as  shall  appear  to 
us  deserving  of  remark. 

CHAP.  10.  (4.) — THE  EOSE:  TWELVE  VAEIETIES  or  IT. 

The  people  of  our  country  were  acquainted  with  but  very 
few  garland  flowers  among  the  garden  plants,  and  those  fe\v 
hardly  any  but  the  violet  and  the  rose.  The  plant  which  bears 
the  rose  is,  properly  speaking,  more  of  a  thorn  than  a  shrub — 
indeed,  we  sometimes  find  it  growing  on  a  bramble42  even ; 
the  flower  having,  even  then,  a  pleasant  smell,  though  by  no 
means  penetrating.  The  flower  in  all  roses  is  originally  en- 
closed in  a  bud,43  with  a  grained  surface  within,  which  gra- 
dually swells,  and  assumes  the  form  of  a  green  pointed  cone, 
similar  to  our  alabaster44  unguent  boxes  in  shape.  Gradually 

,        Fee  remarks  that  we  know  of  no  poisons,  hydrocyanic  or  prussic  acid 
/excepted,  so  instantaneous  in  their  effects  as  this ;    and  that  it  is  very 
doubtful  if  they  were  acquainted  with  that  poison. 
39  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vi.  cc.  6,  7.  40  "  Persecutes  est." 

41  A  characteristic,  it  would  appear,  of  the  greater  part  of  the  inform- 
ation already  given  in  this  Book. 
43  He  alludes  to  the  wild  rose  or  eglantine.     See  B.  xvi.  c.  71. 

43  "  Granoso  cortice." 

44  Boxes  of  a  pyramidal  shape.     See  B.  ix.  c.  56. 

Chap.  10.]  THE  HOSE.  311 

acquiring  a  ruddy  tint,  this  bud  opens  little  by  little,  until  at 
last  it  comes  into  full  blow,  developing  the  calyx,  and  em- 
bracing the  yellow-pointed  filaments  which  stand  erect  in  the 
centre  of  it. 

The  employment  of  the  rose  in  chaplets  is,  so  to  say,  the 
least45  use  that  is  made  of  it.  The  flower  is  steeped  in  oil,  a 
practice  which  has  prevailed  from  the  times  of  the  Trojan  war, 
as  Homer46  bears  witness  ;  in  addition  to  which,  it  now  forms 
an  ingredient  in  our  unguents,  as  mentioned  on  a  previous 
occasion.47  It  is  employed  also  by  itself  for  certain  medicinal 
purposes,  and  is  used  in  plasters  and  eye-salves48  for  its  pene- 
trating qualities :  it  is  used,  also,  to  perfume  the  delicacies  of 
our  banquets,  and  is  never  attended  with  any  noxious  results. 

The  most  esteemed  kinds  of  rose  among  us  are  those  of 
Praeneste49  and  Campania.50  Some  persons  have  added  to  these 
varieties  the  rose  of  Miletus,61  the  flower  of  which  is  an  ex- 
tremely brilliant  red,  and  has  never  more  than  a  dozen  petals. 
The  next  to  it  is  the  rose  of  Trachyn,52  not  so  red  as  the  last, 
and  then  that  of  Alabanda,53  with  whitish  petals,  but  not  so 
highly  esteemed.  The  least  esteemed  of  all,  however,  is  the 
thorn  rose,54  the  petals  of  which  are  numerous,  but  extremely 

45  Still,  even  for  that  purpose  the  rose  was  very  extensively  used.  One 
ancient  author  states  that,  even  in  the  middle  of  winter,  the  more  luxurious 
Romans  were  not  satisfied  without  roses  swimming  in  their  Falernian  wine ; 
and  we  find  Horace  repeatedly  alluding  to  the  chaplets  of  roses  worn  by 
the  guests  at  banquets.  Hence  probably  arose  the  expression,  "  Under 
the  rose."  Fee  is  evidently  mistaken  in  thinking  that  Pliny  implies  here, 
that  it  was  but  rarely  used  in  chaplets. 

48  II.  xxiii.  1.  186.  47  B.  xiii.  c.  2. 

48  "Collyriis." 

49  Clusius  was  of  opinion  that  this  was  the  Provence  rose,  the  Rosa 
Gallica  of  Linnaeus. 

50  The  same  rose,  probably,  of  which  Virgil  says,  Georg.  B.  iv.  1.  119, 
"  Biferique  rosaria  Psesti" — "  And  the  rose-beds  of  PaBstura,   that  bear 
twice  in  the  year."     It  has  been  suggested  that  it  is  identical  with  the 
Rosa  alba  vulgaris  major  of  Bauhin,  the  Rosa  alba  of  Decandolle  :  but, 
as  Fee  says,  it  is  very  questionable  if  this  is  correct,  this  white  rose  blossom- 
ing but  once  a  year. 

51  A  simple  variety  of  the  Rosa  Gallica  of  Linnaeus,  Fee  thinks. 

52  See  B.  iv.  c.  14.     According  to  J.  Bauhin,  this  is  the  pale,  flesh- 
coloured  rose,   called  the  "rose  of  France,"— the  "Rosa  rubello  flore, 
majore,  pleno,  incarnata  vulgo."     Others,  again,  take  it  to  be  the  Damascus 

53  See  B.  v.  c.  29.    A  variety  of  the  white  rose,  Fe*e  thinks,  the  de- 
termination of  which  must  be  sought  among  the  Eglantines. 

54  "  Spiniola."    A  variety  belonging  to  or  approaching  the  Eglantine 


small.  The  essential  points  of  difference  in  the  rose  are  the 
number55  of  the  petals,  the  comparative  number56  of  thorns  on 
the  stem,  the  colour,  and  the  smell.  The  number  of  the  petals, 
which  is  never  less  than  five,  goes  on  increasing  in  amount, 
till  we  find  one  variety  with  as  many  as  a  hundred,  and 
thence  known  as  the  "  centifolia  :"57  in  Italy,  it  is  to  be  found 
in  Campania,  and  in  Greece,  in  the  vicinity  of  Philippi,  though 
this  last  is  not  the  place  of  its  natural68  growth.  Mount  Pan- 
gseus,59  in  the  same  vicinity,  produces  a  rose  with  numerous 
petals  of  diminutive  size :  the  people  of  those  parts  are  in  the 
habit  of  transplanting  it,  a  method  which  greatly  tends  to  im- 
prove its  growth.  This  kind,  however,  is  not  remarkable  for 
its  smell,  nor  yet  is  the  rose  which  has  a  very  large  or  very 
broad  petal :  indeed,  we  may  state  in  a  few  words,  that  the 
best  proof  of  the  perfume  of  the  flower  is  the  comparative 
roughness  of  the  calyx.60 

Csepio,  who  lived  in  the  reign  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius,  as- 
serts that  the  centifolia  is  never  employed  for  chaplets,  except; 
at  the  extreme61  points  of  union  as  it  were,  being  remarkable 
neither  for  its  smell62  nor  its  beaut}7.  There  is  another  variety 

in  all  probability.  Fee  makes  mention  here  of  a  kind  called  the  Rosa 
myriacantha  by  Decandolle  (the  "  thousand-thorn  rose"),  which  is  found  in 
great  abundance  in  the  south  of  Europe,  and  other  parts  of  it. 

55  Fee  remarks  on  this  passage,  that  the  beauty  of  the  flower  and  the 
number  of  the  petals  are  always  in  an  inverse  proportion  to  the  number  of 
thorns,  which  disappear  successively  the  more  carefully  the  plant  is  culti- 

5S  This  is  most  probably  the  meaning  of  "  Asperitate,  levore." 

57  Still  known  as  the  4<  Eosa  centifolia."  Its  petals  sometimes  exceed 
three  hundred  in  number  ;  and  it  is  the  most  esteemed  of  all  for  its  frag- 
rant smell. 

68  "  Non  suse  terras  proventu." 

59  This  rose  is  mentioned  also  by  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vi.  c.  6. 
From  the  description  that  Pliny  gives  of  it,  Fee  is  inclined  to  think  that 
it  is  some  variety  of  the  Rosa  rubrifulia,  which  is  often  found  in  moun- 
tainous localities. 

60  This  assertion  is  borrowed  from  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vi.  c. 
6.     Fee  remarks  that  there  is  no  truth  in  it.     It  is  not  improbable,  how- 
ever, that  the  word  "cortex"  here  may  mean,  not  the  calyx,  but  the  bark 
of  the  stem,  in  reference  to  its  exemption!  from  thorns.     The  rpa-^v  TO 
icarw  of  Theophrastus  would  seem  to  admit  of  that  rendering.     See  Note 
45  above. 

61  "  Extremas  velut  ad  cardines." 

62  This  is  not  the  case  with  the  Rosa  centifolia  of  modern  botany.     See 
Note  57  above.     It  is  not  improbable,  however,  that  the  reading  is  u  pro- 
babilis,"  and  that  this  passage  belongs  to  the  next  sentence. 

Chap.  10.]  THE   ROSE.  313 

of  rose,  too,  called  the  "  Grecian "  rose  by  our  people,  and 
"lychnis"63  by  the  Greeks:  it  grows  nowhere  except  in 
humid  soils,  and  has  never  more  than  five  petals :  it  does  not 
exceed  the  violet  in  size,  and  is  destitute  of  smell.  There  is 
another  kind,  again,  known  to  us  as  the  "  Grsecula," 64  the 
petals  of  which  are  tightly  rolled  together,  and  which  never 
open  except  when  pressed  in  the  hand,  it  having  always  the 
appearance,  in  fact,  of  being  in  bud :  the  petals  of  it  are  re- 
markably large.  Another  kind,  again,  springs  from  a  stem 
like  that  of  the  mallow,  the  leaves  being  similar  to  those  of 
the  olive — the  name  given  to  it  is  "  macetum."65  There  is 
the  rose  of  autumn,  too,  known  to  us  as  the  "  coroniola,"66 
which  is  of  a  middle  size,  between  the  varieties  just  mentioned. 
All  these  kinds,  however,  are  destitute  of  smell,  with  the 
exception  of  the  coroniola,  and  the  one  which  grows  on  the 
bramble  :67  so  extended  is  the  scope  for  fictitious68  productions ! 
And,  indeed,  the  genuine  rose,  for  the  most  part,  is  indebted 
for  its  qualities  to  the  nature  of  the  soil.  That  of  Cyrense"  is 
the  most  odoriferous  of  all,  and  hence  it  is  that  the  unguents 
of  that  place  are  so  remarkably  fine :  at  Carthage,  again,  in 
Spain,  there  are  early70  roses  throughout  all  the  winter.  The 
temperature,  too,  of  the  climate  is  not  without  its  influence : 
for  in  some  years  we  find  the  roses  much  less  odoriferous  than 
in  others ;  in  addition  to  which,  their  smell  is  always  more 
powerful  when  grown  in  dry  soils71  than  in  humid  ones.  The 

63  The  Lychnis,  Fee  remarks,  is  erroneously  classed  by  Pliny  among 
the  roses.     It  is  generally  agreed  among  naturalists  that  it  is  the  garden 
flower,  the  Agrostemma  coronaria  of  Linnaeus ;  which,  however,  does  not 
grow  ill  humid  soils,  but  in  steep,  rocky  places. 

64  Or  "small  Greek"  rose.     Some  commentators  have  identified  it  with 
the  Rosa  silvestris,  odorata,  flore  albo  of  C.  Bauhin,  a  wild  white  rose. 

65  Sillig  thinks  that  this  may  mean  the  "  Macedonian"  rose.     Another 
reading  is  "  moseheuton."     Fee  says  that  it  is  not  a  rose  at  all,  but  one  of 
the  Malvaceae  belonging  to  the  genus  Alcsea ;   one  variety  of  which  is 
called  the  Alccea  rosa. 

66  Or  "  little  chaplet."    Possibly  a  variety  of  the  Eglantine,  the  Rosa 
canina  or  dog-rose,  Fee  suggests. 

57  The  Eglantine. 

68  This  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  "  tot  modis  adulteratur  :"  the  roses 
without  smell  appearing  to  him  to  be  not  genuine  roses. 

69  The  Rosa  Damascena  of  Miller,  Fee  thinks,  our  Damascus  rose. 

70  The  earliest  rose  in  France  and  Spain,  Fee  says,  is  the  **  pompon," 
the  variety  Pomponaea  of  the  Rosa  centifolia. 

71  This  is  consistent  with  modern  experience. 


rose  does  not  admit  of  being  planted  in  either  a  rich  or  an 
argillaceous  soil,  nor  yet  on  irrigated  land ;  being  contented 
with  a  thin,  light  earth,  and  more  particularly  attached  to 
ground  on  which  old  building  rubbish  has  been  laid. 

The  rose  of  Campania  is  early,  that  of  Miletus  late,  but  it  is 
the  rose  of  Prseneste  that  goes  off  the  very  latest  of  all.  For 
the  rose,  the  ground  is  generally  dug  to  a  greater  depth  than  it 
is  for  corn,  but  not  so  deep  as  for  the  vine.  It  grows  but  very 
slowly72  from  the  seed,  which  is  found  in  the  calyx  beneath  the 
petals  of  the  flower,  covered  with  a  sort  of  down ;  hence  it  is 
that  the  method  of  grafting  is  usually  the  one  preferred,  or  else 
propagation  from  the  eyes  of  the  root,  as  in  the  reed.73  One 
kind  is  grafted,  which  bears  a  pale  flower,  with  thorny 
branches  of  a  remarkable  length ;  it  belongs  to  the  quinquefolia 
variety,  being  one  of  the  Greek  roses.74  All  roses  are  improved 
by  being  pruned  and  cauterized;  transplanting,  too,  makes 
them  grow,  like  the  vine,  all  the  better,  and  with  the  greatest 
rapidity.  The  slips  are  cut  some  four  fingers  in  length  or 
more,  and  are  planted  immediately  after  the  setting  of  the 
Yergiliae ;  then,  while  the  west  winds  are  prevalent,  they  are 
transplanted  at  intervals  of  a  foot,  the  earth  being  frequently 
turned  up  about  them. 

Persons  whose  object  it  is  to  grow  early  roses,  make  a  hole 
a  foot  in  width  about  the  root,  and  pour  warm  water  into  it, 
at  the  period  when  the  buds  are  beginning  to  put  forth.75 

CHAP.  11.  (5.)- — THE  LILY  :    FOUR  VARIETIES  OF  IT. 

The  lily  holds  the  next  highest  rank  after  the  rose,  and  has 
a  certain  affinity76  with  it  in  respect  of  its  unguent  and  the 
oil  extracted  from  it,  which  is  known  to  us  as  "  lirinon."77 

72  From  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  vi.  c.  6.  The  rose  is  but  very 
rarely  reproduced  from  seed. 

See  B.  xvi.  c.  67,  and  B.  xvii.  c.  33. 


long ._0_,  ^____^__ 

75  If  the  water  was  only  lukewarm,  Fee  says,  it  would  be  of  no  use, 
and  if  hotter,  the  speedy  death  of  the  tree  would  be  the  result. 

76  "  Quadam  eognatione."     He  alludes  to  a  maceration  of  the  petals  of 
the  rose  and  lily  m  oil.     The  aroma  of  the  lily,  Fee  says,  has  not  been 
fixed  by  any  method  yet  found. 

77  See  B.  xiii.  c.  2. 

Chap.  11.]  THE   LILT.  315 

Blended,  too,  with  roses,  the  lily78  produces  a  remarkably  fine 
effect ;  for  it  begins  to  make  its  appearance,  in  fact,  just  as  the 
rose  is  in  the  very  middle  of  its  season.  There  is  no  flower 
that  grows  to  a  greater  height  than  the  lily,  sometimes,  in- 
deed, as  much  as  three  cuhits ;  the  head  of  it  heing  always 
drooping,  as  though  the  neck  of  the  flower  were  unable  to 
support  its  weight.  The  whiteness  of  the  lily  is  quite  remark- 
able, the  petals  being  striated  on  the  exterior ;  the  flower  is 
narrow  at  the  base,  and  gradually  expanding  in  shape  like  a 
tapering79  cup  with  the  edges  curving  outwards,  the  fine  pistils 
of  the  flower,  and  the  stamens  with  their  anthera  of  a  saffron 
colour,  standing  erect  in  the  middle.80  Hence  the  perfume  of 
the  lily,  as  well  as  its  colour,  is  two-fold,  there  being  one  for 
the  petals  and  another  for  the  stamens.  The  difference,  how- 
ever, between  them  is  but  very  small,  and  when  the  flower  is 
employed  for  making  lily  unguents  and  oils,  the  petals  are 
never  rejected. 

There  is  a  flower,  not  unlike  the  lily,  produced  by  the  plant 
known  to  us  as  the  "  convolvulus."81  It  grows  among  sbrubs, 
is  totally  destitute  of  smell,  and  has  not  the  yellow  antherse  of 
the  lily  within  :  only  vying  with  it  in  its  whiteness,  it  would 
almost  appear  to  be  the  rough  sketch82  made  by  Nature  when 
she  was  learning  how  to  make  the  lily.  The  white  lily  is 
propagated  in  all  the  various  ways  which  are  employed  for  the 
cultivation  of  the  rose,83  as  also  by  means  of  a  certain  tearlike 

78  The  Lilium  candidum  of  Linnaeus.     Fee  remarks  that  the  "  Lilium" 
of  the  Romans  and  the  Xtipiov  of  the  Greeks  is  evidently  derived  from 
the  laleh  of  the  Persians. 

79  *'  Calathi."     The  "calathus"  was  a  work-basket  of  tapering  shape  ; 
it  was  also  used  for  carrying  fruits  and  flowers,  Ovid,  Art.  Am.  ii.  264. 
Cups,  too,  for  wine  were  called  by  this  name,  Virg.  Eel.  v.  71. 

80  As  this  passage  has  been  somewhat  amplified  in  the  translation,  it 
will  perhaps  be  as  well  to  insert  it :  "  Resupinis  per  amhitum  labris,  te- 
nuique  pilo  et  staminum  stantihus  in  medio  crocis." 

81  The  Convolvulus  srepium  of  modern  hotany ;  the  only  resemblance 
in  which  to  the  lily  is  in  the  colour,  it  being  totally  different  in  every  other 

8-  "  Rudimentum."  She  must  have  set  to  work  in  a  very  roundabout 
way,  Fee  thinks,  and  one  in  which  it  would  be  quite  impossible  for  a  na- 
turalist to  follow  her. 

83  The  white  lily  is  reproduced  from  the  offsets  of  the  bulbs ;  and,  ns 
Fee  justly  remarks,  it  is  highly  absurd  to  compare  the  mode  of  culti- 
vation with  that  of  the  rose,  which  is  propagated  from  slips. 


gum84  which  belongs  to  it,  similarly  to  hipposelinum55  in  fact : 
indeed,  there  is  no  plant  that  is  more  prolific  than  this,  a  sin- 
gle root  often  giving  birth  to  as  many  as  fifty  bulbs.86  There 
is,  also,  a  red  lily,  known  by  the  name  of  "  crinon"87  to  the 
Greeks,  though  there  are  some  authors  who  call  the  flower  of 
it  "  cynorrodon."  ^  The  most  esteemed  are  those  of  Antiochia 
and  Laodicea  in  Syria,  and  next  to  them  that  of  Phaselis.8* 
To  the  fourth  rank  belongs  the  flower  that  grows  in  Italy. 


There  is  a  purple90  lily,  too,  which  sometimes  has  a  double 
stem ;  it  differs  only  from  the  other  lilies  in  having  a  more 
fleshy  root  and  a  bulb  of  larger  size,  but  undivided : 91  the 
name  given  to  it  is  "  narcissus."92  A  second  variety  of  this  lily 
has  a  white  flower,  with  a  purple  corolla.  There  is  also  this 
difference  between  the  ordinaiy  lily  and  the  narcissus,  that  in 
the  latter  the  leaves  spring  from  the  root  of  the  plant.  The 
finest  are  those  which  grow  on  the  mountains  of  Lycia.  A 
third  variety  is  similar  to  the  others  in  every  respect,  except 
that  the  corolla  of  the  plant  is  green.  They  are  all  of  them 
late93  flowers:  indeed,  they  only  bloom  after  the  setting  of 
Arcturus,94  and  at  the  time  of  the  autumnal  equinox. 

84  This  absurd  notion  is  derived  from  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  ii. 
c.  2,  and  B.  vi.  c.  6.  85  See  B.  xix.  c.  48. 

86  The  root  really  consists  of  certain  fine  fibres,  to  which  the  bulbs,  or 
rather  cloves  or  offsets,  are  attached. 

87  Judging  from  what  Theocritus  says,  in  his  35th  Idyl,  the  "  crinon  " 
would  appear  to  have  been  a  white  lily.     Sprengel,  however,  takes  the  red 
lily  of  Pliny  to  be  the  scarlet  lily,  the  Lilium  Chalcedonicum  of  Linnaeus. 

88  Or  "  dog-rose :"  a  name  now  given  to  one  of  the  wild  roses. 
83  See  B.  xiii.  c.  9. 

90  Fee  remarks,  that  it  is  singular  that  Pliny,  as  also  Virgil,  Eel.  v.  1.  38, 
should  have  given  the  epithet  "  purpureus"  to  the  Narcissus.  It  is  owing, 
Fee  says,  to  the  red  nectary  of  the  flower,  which  is  also  bordered  with  a 
very  bright  red.  9l  Into  cloves  or  offsets. 

92  The  Narcissus  poeticus  of  Linnaeus.    Pliny  gives  the  origin  of  its 
name  in  c.  75  of  this  Book. 

93  Though  supported  by  Theophrastus,  this  assertion  is  quite  erroneous. 
In  France,  even,  Fee  says',  the  Narcissus  poeticus  blossoms  at  the  end  of 
April,  and  sooner,  probably,  in  the  climates  of  Greece  and  Italy. 

94  See  B.  xviii.  c.  76.     It  is  just  possible  that  Pliny  and  Theophrastus 
may  be  speaking  of  the  Narcissus  scrotinus  of  Linnajus,  which  is  found  in 
great  abundance  in  the  southern  provinces  of  Naples,  and  is  undoubtedly 
the  flower  alluded  to  by  Virgil  in  the  words,  "Nee  sera  comantem  Narcis- 
sum,"  Georg.  iv.  11.  122,  123. 

Chap.  14.]  THE   VIOLET.  317 


There  has  been  invented95  also  a  method  of  tinting  the  lily, 
thanks  to  the  taste  of  mankind  for  monstrous  productions. 
The  dried  stalks96  of  the  lily  are  tied  together  in  the  month  of 
July,  and  hung  up  in  the  smoke :  then,  in  the  following 
March,  when  the  small  knots97  are  beginning  to  disclose  them- 
selves, the  stalks  are  left  to  steep  in  the  lees  of  black  or  Greek 
wine,  in  order  that  they  may  contract  its  colour,  and  are  then 
planted  out  in  small  trenches,  some  semi-sextarii  of  wine-lees 
being  poured  around  them.  By  this  method  purple  lilies  are 
obtained,  it  being  a  very  remarkable  thing  that  we  should  be 
able  to  dye  a  plant  to  such  a  degree  as  to  make  it  produce  a 
coloured  flower. 


Kext  after  the  roses  and  the  lilies,  the  violet  is  held  in  the 
highest  esteem :  of  this  there  are  several  varieties,  the  pur- 
ple,98 the  yellow,  and  the  white,  all  of  them  reproduced  from 
plants,  like  the  cabbage.  The  purple  violet,  which  springs 
up  spontaneously  in  sunny  spots,  with  a  thin,  meagre  soil,  has 
larger  petals  than  the  others,  springing  immediately  from  the 
root,  which  is  of  a  fleshy  substance.  This  violet  has  a  name, 
too,  distinct  from  the  other  wild  kinds,  being  called  "ion,"  " 
and  from  it  the  ianthine  *  cloth  takes  its  name. 

Among  the  cultivated  kinds,  the  yellow2  violet  is  held  in  the 
greatest  esteem.  The  Tusculan  violet,  and  that  known  as  the 

95  Fee  remarks,  that  the  extravagant  proceeding  here  described  by 
Pliny  with  a  seriousness  that  is  perfectly  ridiculous,  does  iiot  merit  any 

96  When  detached  from  the  bulb,  the  stem  of  the  lily  will  infallibly  die. 

97  "Nudantibus  se  nodulis."    There  are  no  such  knots  in  the  lily,  as 
Fee  remarks. 

98  The  Viola  odorata  of  Linnaeus.  l9  The  Greek  name. 

1  "lanthina  vestis,"  violet-coloured. 

2  Desfontaines  identifies  this  with  the  Cheiranthus  Cheiri ;  but  Fee  says 
that  there  is  little  doubt  that  it  belongs  to  the  Viola  tricolor  herbensis 
(pansy,  or  heart's-ease),  in  the  petals  of  which  the  yellow  predominates, 
and  the  type  of  which  is  the  field  violet,  or  Viola  arvensis,  the  flowers  of 
which  are  extremely  small,  and  entirely  yellow. 

318  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXI. 

"  marine  " 3  violet,  have  petals  somewhat  broader  than  the 
others,  but  not  so  odoriferous ;  the  Calatian 4  violet,  too,  which 
has  a  smaller  leaf,  is  entirely  destitute  of  smell.  This  last  is 
a  present  to  us  from  the  autumn,  the  others  from  the  spring. 

CHAP.   15. — THE    CALTHA.       THE    SCOPA    REGIA. 

Next  to  it  comes  the  caltha,  the  flowers  of  which  are  of 
similar  colour  and  size  ;5  in  the  number  of  its  petals,  however, 
it  surpasses  the  marine  violet,  the  petals  of  which  are  never 
more  than  five  in  number.  The  marine  violet  is  surpassed, 
too,  by  the  other  in  smell ;  that  of  the  caltha  being  very  power- 
ful. The  smell,  too,  is  no  less  powerful  in  the  plant  known  as 
the  "scopa  regia;"6  but  there  it  is  the  leaves  of  the  plant, 
and  not  the  flowers,  that  are  odoriferous. 


The  bacchar,7  too,  by  some  persons  known  as  "field  nard," 

3  This  has  been  identified  with  the  Cheiranthus  incanus,  the  Cheiranthus : 
tricuspidatus  of  the  shores  of  the  Mediterranean,  the  Hesperis  maritima  of 
Linnaeus ;  also,  by  some  commentators,  with  the  Campanula  Medium  of 

4  So  called,  according  to  Pintianus  and  Salmasius,  from  Calatia,  a  town 
of  Italy.     Fee  adopts  the  reading  "  Calathiana,"  and  considers  it  to  have 
received  that  name  from  its  resemblance  to  the  Caltha  mentioned  in  the 
next  Chapter.     Dalechamps  identifies  it  with  the  Digitalis  purpurea; 
Gessner,  Dodonaeus,  and  Thalius,  with  the  Gentiana  pneumonanthe,  others 
with  the  Gentiana  ciliata  and  Pannonica,  and  Sprengel  with  the  Gentiana 
verna  of  Linnaeus.    Fee  admits  himself  totally  at  a  loss  on  the  subject. 

5  •*  Concolori  amplitudine."     Gronovius,  with  considerable  justice,  ex- 
pres^ses  himself  at  a  loss  as  to  the  exact  meaning  of  these  words.     If 
Sprengel  and  Salmasius  are  right  in  their  conjectures  that  the  Caltha  of 
Pliny  and  Virgil  is  the  marigold,  our  Calendula  olficinalis,  the  passage 
cannot  mean  that  the  flower  of  it  is  of  the  same  size  and  colour  with 
any  variety  of  the  violet  mentioned  in  the  preceding  Chapter.     From  the 
description  given  of  it  by  Dioscorides,  it  is  more  than  probable  that  the 
Caltha  of  the  ancients  is  not  the  marigold,  and  Hardouin  is  probably 
right  in  his  conjecture  that  Pliny  intends  to  describe  a  variety  of  the  violet 
under  the  name.     Fee  is  at  a  loss  as  to  its  identification. 

6  Or  "  royal  broom."     Sprengel  thinks  that  this  is  the  Chenopodium 
scoparia,  a  plant  common  in  Greece  and  Italy ;  and  Fee  is  inclined  to 
coincide  with  that  opinion,  though,  as  he  says,  there  are  numerous  other 
plants  with  odoriferous  leaves  and  pliant  shoots,  as  its  name,  broom,  would 
seem  to  imply.     Other  writers  would  identify  it  with  a  Sideritis,  and 
others,  again,  with  an  Achillaea. 

7  See  B.  xii.  c.  26.     Fee  is  inclined  to  coincide  with  Ruellius,  and  to 
identify  this  with  the  Digitalis  purpurea,  clown's  spikenard,  or  our  Lady's 

Chap.  17.]  SAFFECm.  319 

is  odoriferous  in  the  root  only.  In  former  times,  it  was  the 
practice  to  make  unguents  of  this  root,  as  we  learn  from  the 
poet  Aristophanes,  a  writer  of  the  Ancient  Comedy ;  from 
which  circumstance  some  persons  have  erroneously  given  the 
name  of  " exotic"8  to  the  plant.  The  smell  of  it  strongly  re- 
sembles that  of  cinnamomum ;  and  the  plant  grows  in  thin 
soils,  which  are  free  from  all  humidity. 

The  name  of  "  combretum  "9  is  given  to  a  plant  that  bears 
a  very  strong  resemblance  to  it,  the  leaves  of  which  taper  to 
the  fineness  of  threads ;  in  height,  however,  it  is  taller  than 
the  bacchar.  These  are  the  only 10  *  *  *  *  The  error, 
however,  ought  to  be  corrected,  on  the  part  of  those  who  have 
bestowed  upon  the  bacchar  the  name  of  "  field  nard ;"  for  that 
in  reality  is  the  surname  given  to  another  plant,  known  to  the 
Greeks  as  "  asaron,"  the  description  and  features  of  which  we 
have  already  n  mentioned,  when  speaking  of  the  different  va- 
rieties of  nard.  I  find,  too,  that  the  name  of  "asaron  "  has 
been  given  to  this  plant,  from  the  circumstance  of  its  never  u 
being  employed  in  the  composition  of  chaplets. 



The  wild  saffron 13  is  the  best ;  indeed,  in  Italy  it  is  of  no 

gloves.  The  only  strong  objection  to  this  is  the  fact  that  the  root  of  the 
digitalis  has  a  very  faint  but  disagreeable  smell,  and  not  at  all  like  that  of 
cinnamon.  But  then,  as  Fee  says,  we  have  no  positive  proof  that  the 
"  cinnamomum"  of  the  ancients  is  identical  with  our  cinnamon.  See  Vol. 
iii.  p.  138.  Sprengel  takes  the  "  hacchar"  of  Virgil  to  he  the  Valeriana 
Celtica,  and  the  "  baccharis"  of  the  Greeks  to  be  the  Gnaphalium  san- 
guineum,  a  plant  of  Egypt  and  Palestine.  The  bacchar  has  been  also 
identified  with  the  Asperula  odorata  of  Linnaeus,  the  Geum  urbanum  of 
Linnaeus  (the  root  of  which  has  the  smell  of  cloves),  the  Inula  Vaillantii, 
the  Salvia  Sclarea,  and  many  other  plants. 

8  "  Barbaricam."     Everything  that  was  not  indigenous  to  the  territory 
of  Rome,  was  "barbarum,"  or  "  barbaricum." 

9  Cffisalpinus  says  that  this  is  a  rushy  plant,  called,  in  Tuscany,  Herba 
luziola ;  but  Fee  is  quite  at  a  loss  for  its  identification. 

10  Sillig  is  most  probably  right  in  his  surmise  that  there  is  an  hiatus 

11  In  B.  xii.  c.  27.    Asarum  Europaeum,  or  foal-foot. 

12  Probably  meaning  that  it  comes  from  d,  "not,"  and  <rafpw,  "to  adorn." 

13  Or  Crocus,  the  Crocus  sativus  of  Linnaeus,  from  the  prepared  stigmata 
of  which  the  saffron  of  commerce  is  made.     It  is  still  found  growing  wild 
on  the  mountains  in  the  vicinity  of  Athens,  and  is  extensively  cultivated 
in  many  parts  of  Europe, 


use  whatever  to  attempt  to  propagate  it,  the  produce  of  a  whole 
bed  of  saffron  being  boiled  down  to  a  single  scruple ;  it  is  repro- 
duced by  offsets  from  the  bulb.  The  cultivated  saffron  is 
larger,  finer,  and  better  looking  than  the  other  kinds,  but  has 
much  less  efficacy.  This  plant  is  everywhere  degenerating,14 
and  is  far  from  prolific  at  Cyrenae  even,  a  place  where  the 
flowers  are  always  of  the  very  finest  quality.  The  most  es- 
teemed saffron,  however,  is  that  of  Cilicia,  and  there  of  Mount 
Corycus  in  particular ;  next  comes  the  saffron  of  Mount  Olym- 
pus, in  Lycia,  and  then  of  Centuripa,  in  Sicily  ;  some  persons, 
however,  have  given  the  second  rank  to  the  Phlegraean  15  saf- 

There  is  nothing  so  much  adulterated16  as  saffron  :  the  best 
proof  of  its  goodness  is  when  it  snaps  under  pressure  by  the 
fingers,  as  though  it  were  friable;17  for  when  it  is  moist,  a 
state  which  it  owes  to  being  adulterated,  it  is  limp,  and  will 
not  snap  asunder.  Another  way  of  testing  it,  again,  is  to 
apply  it  with  the  hand  to  the  face,  upon  which,  if  good,  it  will 
be  found  to  be  slightly  caustic  to  the  face  and  eyes.  There  is 
a  peculiar  kind,  too,  of  cultivated  saffron,  which  is  in  general 
extremely  mild,  being  only  of  middling  18  quality  ;  the  name 
given  to  it  is  "  dialeucon."19  The  saffron  of  Cyrenaica,  again, 
is  faulty  in  the  opposite  extreme ;  for  it  is  darker  than  any 
other  kind,  and  is  apt  to  spoil  very  quickly.  The  best  saffron 
everywhere  is  that  which  is  of  the  most  unctuous  quality,  and 
the  filaments  of  which  are  the  shortest ;  the  worst  being  that 
which  emits  a  musty  smell. 

Mucianus  informs  us  that  in  Lycia,  at  the  end  of  seven  or 
eight  years,  the  saffron  is  transplanted  into  a  piece  of  ground 
which  has  been  prepared  for  the  purpose,  and  that  in  this  way 

14  "Degenerans  ubique."     Judging  from  what  he  states  below,  he  may 
possibly  mean,  if  grown  repeatedly  on  the  same  soil. 

15  He  may  allude  either  to  the  city  of  Phlegra  of  Macedonia,  or  to  the 
Phlegrsean  Plains  in  Campania,  which  were  remarkable  for  their  fertility. 
Virgil  speaks  of  the  saffron  of  Mount  Tmolus  in  Cilicia. 

16  It  is  very  extensively  adulterated  with  the  petals  of  the  marigold,  as 
also  the  Carthamus  tinctorius,  safflower,  or  bastard  saffron. 

17  This  is  the  case  ;  for  when  it  is  brittle  it  shows  that  it  has  not  been 
adulterated  with  water,  to  add  to  its  weight. 

-8  Perhaps  the  reading  here,  "  Cum  sit  in  medio  candidum,"  is  prefer- 
able ;  u  because  it  is  white  in  the  middle." 
19  "  White  throughout." 

Chap.  18.]         THE  NATURE  OF  ODOUES.  321 

it  is  prevented  from  degenerating.  It  is  never 20  used  for  chap- 
lets,  being  a  plant  with  an  extremely  narrow  leaf,  as  fine  almost 
as  a  hair ;  but  it  combines  remarkably  well  with  wine,  sweet 
wine  in  particular.  Reduced  to  a  powder,  it  is  used  to  per- 
fume 2l  the  theatres. 

Saffron  blossoms  about  the  setting  of  the  Vergilice,  for  a  few 
days22  only,  the  leaf  expelling  the  flower.  It  is  verdant23  at 
the  time  of  the  winter  solstice,  and  then  it  is  that  they  gather 
it;  it  is  usually  dried  in  the  shade,  and  if  in  winter,  all  the 
better.  The  root  of  this  plant  is  fleshy,  and  more  long-lived24 
than  that  of  the  other  bulbous  plants.  It  loves  to  be  beaten 
and  trodden  M  under  foot,  and  in  fact,  the  worse  it  is  treated 
the  better  it  thrives  :  hence  it  is,  that  it  grows  so  vigorously 
by  the  side  of  foot-paths  and  fountains.  (7.)  Saffron  was 
already  held  in  high  esteem  in  the  time  of  the  Trojan  War ; 
at  all  events,  Homer,26  we  find,  makes  mention  of  these  three 
flowers,  the  lotus,27  the  saffron,  and  the  hyacinth. 

CHAP.   18. THE    NATURE    OF    ODOURS. 

All  the  odoriferous28  substances,  and  consequently  the  plants, 
differ  from  one  another  in  their  colour,  smell,  and  juices.  It 
is  but  rarely 29  that  the  taste  of  an  odoriferous  substance  is  not 

20  He  contradicts  himself  here  ;  for  in  c.  79  of  this  Book,  he  says  that 
chaplets  of  saffron  are  good  for  dispelling  the  fumes  of  wine. 

"  Ad  theatra  repleuda."  It  was  the  custom  to  discharge  saffron-water 
over  the  theatres  with  pipes,  and  sometimes  the  saffron  was  mixed  with 
wine  for  the  purpose.  It  was  discharged  through  pipes  of  very  minute 
bore,  so  that  it  fell  upon  the  spectators  in  the  form  of  the  finest  dust.  See 
Lucretius,  B.  ii.  1.  416 ;  Lucan,  Phars.  ix.  1.  808—810 ;  and  Seneca,  Epist. 

22  It  flowers  so  rapidly,  in  fact,  that  it  is  difficult  to  avoid  the  loss  of  a 
)art  of  the  harvest. 

The  whole  of  this  passage  is  from  Theophrastus,  De  Odorib, 

This  statement,  though  borrowed  from  Theophrastus,  is  not  consis- 

ent  with  fact.     The  root  of  saffron  is  not  more  long-lived  than  any  other 

julbs  of  the  Liliacese. 

23  Because,  Dalechamps  says,  all  the  juices  are  thereby  thrown  back  into 
he  root,  which  consequently  bears  a  stronger  flower  the  next  year. 

26  II.  xiv.  1.  348.  27  see  B<  xiii  c   32. 

28  All  these  statements  as  to  the  odours  of  various  substances,  are  from 
.heophrastus,  De  Causis,  B.  vi.  c.  22. 

29  He  does  not  say,  however,  that  it  is  but  rarely  that  a  bitter  substance